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More to Hana Bank leader Yin, 19, than meets the eye

By Randall MellOctober 13, 2017, 2:22 pm

Angel Yin is one of the LPGA’s most powerful players, but her coach says there’s a lot more to the young American’s game.

Bobby Lasken says Yin plays with an intelligence and feel in her hands you don’t find in a lot of players.

Yin, an LPGA rookie who turned 19 earlier this month, took the outright lead in the second round of the KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea Friday in a bid to claim her first tour victory. She helped the United States win the Solheim Cup in August as the second youngest American ever to play in the international team event. Lexi Thompson was four months younger when she made her first team.

With a 7-under-par 65 Friday, Yin took a two-shot lead on a trio of South Koreans: two-time major champion In Gee Chun (65), reigning U.S. Women’s Open champ Sung Hyun Park (69) and Jin Young Ko (67).

Lasken says Yin has a rare feel for a golf club, a sense of equipment that most young players don’t have.

“It’s the most amazing thing,” Lasken said. “She has such a great feel for clubs. She probably knows more about golf clubs than any player on the LPGA tour. She really has an understanding of weighting and things like that, when a club isn’t right, when something is a bit off. She can tell if the weighting on a putter head makes it a little open. People who don’t really know may not think it matters. It matters. She knows clubs in a way that’s rare.”

Yin ranks seventh on the LPGA in driving distance, averaging 271 yards per drive, and she used that power taking the lead on the Sky 72 Ocean Course in Incheon. She eagled the fifth hole, hitting driver and then 6-iron to 12 feet. She birdied the other three par 5s, playing them cumulatively in 5 under.

“Distance is the highlight of my game, my advantage, too,” Yin said.

While Yin wasn’t a household name in the women’s game before the Solheim Cup, she has been on the radar of other tour players since she began emerging as a force as a junior growing up in California.


Full-field scores from the LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship


At 13, Yin qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run. At 14, she won a junior qualifier to get into the ANA Inspiration and made the cut. At 15, she Monday qualified to get into the LPGA’s Kia Classic, At 16, she won the AJGA’s Annika Invitational, finished runner up in the U.S. Girls’ Junior and played on the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team.

“Angel is a gifted athlete,” Lasken said. “A lot of what she has you just can’t teach.”

Lasken first heard about Yin when she was 10. Lasken’s sister, Kim, an LPGA pro at the time, was paired with Yin in a U.S. Women’s Open qualifier.

“Kim called me after saying, 'Oh my God, this 10-year-old girl was outdriving me by 30 yards,’” Lasken said. “Angel was a legend at 10.”

Yin made a name for herself on the Ladies European Tour last year. She finished second on tour in driving distance and 11th on the Order of Merit.

She also made a name for herself with her quirky, good humor.

“She’s hilarious,” Lasken said.

Yin’s handle on Instagram is @angelyinLOL.

“I’m from California, and I could tell right away Angel was a California girl,” said Beth Allen, the first American to win the LET’s Order of Merit. “It’s the way she talks, and that Californian free spirit. She marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s just a lot of fun.”

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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Woods happy to help Furyk at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:58 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn't hesitate when Jim Furyk asked him to become a vice captain at the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Woods said Wednesday that Furyk asked he and Steve Stricker “a while ago” whether they were interested in being assistants in Paris as the Americans try to win a Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Woods said of Furyk, “and whatever he wants, whatever he needs, I’m there to help him. We’re worked well the last couple of years in the cups together.”


Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


Though Woods has said that he wants to be a playing vice captain, he has been an assistant at each of the past two international team competitions.

Furyk, Woods and Stricker were all assistants at Hazeltine, where the U.S. won in a rout.

“Jim is very detailed, very smart, very analytical, and he’s just a fantastic leader,” Woods said. “For him to ask Stricks and I together, it will be special for both of us.”

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Woods to hit '4 or 5' drivers each day at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:25 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Those hoping Tiger Woods will wield the driver early and often this week at PGA National likely will be disappointed.

Depending on wind direction, he said he will only hit “four or five” drivers each round.

During Wednesday’s pro-am, Woods hit driver on six holes. He found two fairways with the big stick and found the right rough four times, though a few of those misses were only a few yards off the fairway.


Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


In two starts this year, Woods has struggled mightily with every club off the tee, but driver has been especially troublesome. He has found only 36 percent of the fairways so far (30 of 84).

The Champion Course here is a par 70, with water and bunkers often lining the fairways. Putting the ball in play off the tee will be at a premium, and so Woods opted for a low, penetrating 2-iron six times in the pro-am.

Woods said he did not make any equipment changes following the missed cut at Riviera.

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TT postscript: One birdie in casual pro-am round

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:15 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Here are a few observations after watching Tiger Woods’ pro-am round Wednesday at the Honda Classic:

• As expected, the stress level was minimal at PGA National. He had a short warmup (considering it was still freakin’ dark when he was about to tee it up, at 6:45 a.m.) and generally took little time contemplating shots, except for a few clubs off the tee.

• Tiger spent a lot of time chipping, pitching and putting after completing a hole. No surprise there. He didn’t play a practice round Monday or Tuesday, and he hasn’t competed here since 2014. Gotta get in that work.


Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


• He hit six drivers Wednesday. That’s probably one or two more than he will in competition, depending on wind direction. Two of those drives found the fairway. The other four were varying degrees off-line in the right rough, none more wild than his push slice on the difficult sixth hole that was probably 60 yards right. At least it was playable over there – water runs all the way down the left side.

• It’s not quite a stinger, but he hit more than a few 2-iron shots off the tee, with a sweet, little draw. That’ll play quite nicely here.

• We said it for a few rounds at Torrey Pines, and then again for one day at Riviera, but here goes: Woods appears to have taken the left side of the course out of play. Whether that remains true after playing under “game speed” this week, who knows?

• Woods made only one birdie, after getting up and down out of the greenside bunker on the par-5 third. His pro-am stat line, for those interested: 7 of 14 fairways, 12 greens and 31 putts and shot around 2 over. Again, he was not really trying.

• Best shot of the day? His fairway-bunker shot on the sixth hole (while playing his second ball). He skied a mid-iron from 187 yards to kick-in range. A little more of that, please.