China's star golfer Yin ready for Olympic journey

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Currently ranked as China's No. 1 female golfer, Yin Ruoning voiced her anticipation on Wednesday about representing her country at the Paris Olympics next year.

Yin Ruoning during China LPGA's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Orient Masters in Xiamen, Fujian Province, September 4, 2020. /Xinhua Photo

"The Olympics is the tournament I most want to play," said the 20-year-old Shanghai native at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club ahead of the Thursday start of the CKPC Women's Open, Canada's national championship.

"The Olympics are such a great honor to represent your country, so I'll keep working on my game. I'm looking forward to competing," Yin added.

Fifth in the Rolex World Rankings, Yin's second year on the LPGA Tour has been exceptional, making her third on the money list while still being recognized as a 'rookie'.

Earlier this year in March, she achieved her first U.S. victory at the Dio Implant LA Open and later won the KPMG Women's PGA Championship in June. Her win positioned her as the second Chinese player to seize a major championship, a feat first achieved by former world No. 1 Feng Shanshan in 2012.

"It's pretty amazing, but I'm not surprised at all. At the end of last year I just had a meeting with my team. We set a goal this year, just win two or three tournaments, win a major," Yin recounted, highlighting her triumphant start as a pro in 2020 on the China LPGA Tour.

"Before I only played a fade, so now I can play both ways. I think that gives me more choice to hit a tee shot, an approach shot."

Lin Xiyu, who has experienced two Olympics alongside Feng, the bronze medalist at the 2016 Rio Games, is likely to be a mainstay on the Chinese team. The 27-year-old from Guangzhou has been playing some of her best golf since her participation in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, where she tied for ninth.

"It was a quick turnaround since Tokyo when the Olympics was postponed. It's crazy to think that it's really around the corner with the next Olympics less than a year away," noted Lin.

Having won the Women's China Open in 2019, Lin's performance continues to be impressive. She managed three second-place finishes last season, and this year, she has landed in the top-four or better on multiple occasions, still in pursuit of her first LPGA Tour victory.

"It's been close for the last two seasons. It's unfortunate that I haven't got the win but I think finishing top-10 frequently is another accomplishment too. So I'm pretty happy with that," Lin said.

With upcoming talents like Liu Yu, Liu Yan, Liu Ruixin, and Zhang Weiwei making their presence felt on both the LPGA and Epson Tour circuits, Lin finds it to be an exhilarating time for Chinese women's golf, particularly with Yin's major championship win adding to the momentum.

"It doesn't surprise me. After Shanshan's win, we already see the possibilities for a Chinese to win a major. Everybody's eyes are wide open to that. But I think Ruoning brings a little different spirit because she is so young, she's very aggressive. The way she plays golf is slightly different than Shanshan, or I would say even myself, so of course I am going to learn some from her golf," Lin remarked. 

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