Lin shoots for 3rd consecutive win at China LPGA Tour

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After winning the Sanya Ladies Open and the Sanya's Hills Ladies Classic over the past two weeks, Guangdong native Lin Xiyu is aiming to become the first player to win three straight China LPGA Tour events when the Xiamen Open International tees off Friday in Fujian province.

With a top field assembled for the co-sponsored event between the China LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour (LET), Lin, an 18-year-old who has recently completed her first season on the US LPGA Tour, said her hot streak was good for her confidence.

"I never won three in a row, not even on the junior circuit. For past two weeks I tried not to be so harsh on myself. I always tried my best, but I didn' t care about my finishes. I wasn' t angry or frustrated. It' s a good formula and approach which I want to keep on," she said.

"But these wins in Sanya are a great help. I will play Omega Dubai Ladies Masters next month (Dec 10-13) and I am exempt for the Evian Championship (in France) next year, so that' s good."

As this week' s field includes such LET regulars as England' s Charley Hull, the current No. 2 on the Tour' s money list, and the double French threat of Gwladys Nocera and Valentine Derrey, Lin said she would have to be at her best at the Orient Xiamen venue, a wind-swept layout that regularly hosts the Hyundai China Ladies Open.

"I played this golf course a few years ago in the China Open and I think it's a good course and pretty tough. The greens are small and it can get pretty windy so it' s a tough golf course. Two years ago, I didn' t play really well here (when she finished tied for 50th)."

"But I am not thinking about winning this week because I think you need to be very patient and not just have a good game but your body needs to be in good shape. After three weeks of tournaments I'm feeling a little bit tired actually, but I will try to get into my best shape and hopefully this week I can have a good performance."

After finishing runner-up last week in Sanya, five strokes behind Lin's winning margin, Hull, last year's LET Tour rookie of the year, is looking to turn the table this week in search of her second victory of the season.

"The golf course looks fantastic so I'm going to go out and have fun this week and see what I can do. I had a good week last week and came second so hopefully this week I can go one better," said the 18-year-old who has posted five top-four or better finishes so far this year.

"The greens are quite tricky but the speed is fast, so I like that. I'm looking forward to it. The greens are not as grainy as last week. I'm not one to set targets, I just play golf."

Others in the field for this week's 50,000-US-dollar tournament include Asian Games hero Shi Yu-ting who has been impressive since turning pro last month, and top amateurs Zhang Jienalin of China and Chinese Taipei's Cheng Ssu-chia who has won three times on the Taiwan Tour.

Shi, a 16-year-old from Beijing, said she was looking forward to this week as she was well familiar with the course.

"This is my fourth trip to Xiamen and it feels like home here," said the teenager who was equal eighth in Sanya last week. "I played well at the Sanya Ladies Open and had a decent finish. I just had a so-so middle round, but I have confidence about my game now. Hopefully I can be better this week."

Making her Xiamen debut is Chinese Taipei's Cheng, a 16-year-old amateur who is emerging as the next big thing to come out of the island golf hotbed. Earlier this month she finished tied for 15th against the world's top pros at the Taiwan Championship, a tournament won by world No. 1 Inbee Park.

"I am honored to be invited by Orient Golf and the China LPGA Tour. It's my first LET event. I am looking forward to it. Hopefully I could have a good finish here." Endi

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