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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.”

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.