WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Who will the next young American star be in the women’s game?
Rookie Nelly Korda is quickly working her way toward the head of that line, with Alison Lee, a third-year pro possessing so much potential, but there’s another American rookie who looks poised to get into the conversation.
Angel Yin posted a 5-under-par 66 Thursday to move into the early hunt at the Kingsmill Championship. The18-year-old from suburban Los Angeles is a fun-loving, long hitter hoping to give Sung Hyun Park a run for the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award this season.
“I want to win Rookie of the Year,” Yin said.
Yin is a distant second in the Rookie of the Year point standings behind Park, the favorite to run away with the award. Park was the dominant star in South Korea before joining the LPGA as a rookie this year.
Yin, though, appears to be on a nice roll. She tied for fifth at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout in her last stroke-play start. She got herself into the quarterfinals of the Lorena Ochoa Match Play two weeks ago and appeared to be on her way to the semifinals with an upset of Michelle Wie before Wie staged a dramatic comeback.
Yin turned pro as a 17-year-old and played the Ladies European Tour last year, where she finished 11th in the Order of Merit and recorded four top-10 finishes.
“My ultimate goal was to come back home and play this tour,” Yin said.
Yin earned that right finishing third at LPGA Q-School late last year. She’s a familiar name to American women’s golf fans. Yin qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur when she was 12, for the U.S. Women’s Open when she was 13 and played in the ANA Inspiration when she was 14 and 15. She lost to Eun Jeong Seong in the finals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior when she was 16.