Free spirit Yin helps keep U.S. Solheim team loose

By Randall MellAugust 15, 2017, 8:27 pm

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - U.S. Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster loved the playful bravado.

Long before Angel Yin played her way onto the media’s radar as a Solheim Cup hopeful this summer, she was on Inkster’s radar.

The LPGA rookie wouldn’t let Inkster walk past her at a tour event without letting her know she was ready to play for her.

Every time she passed me, she would say, `I’m going to make your team.’ I loved that about her,” said Inkster, who made Yin one of her two captain’s picks. “She’s confident, but not cocky.”

Tour insiders have been waiting for this giant talent to make a mark as a pro on a big stage, and Des Moines Golf and Country Club looks like that stage.

Yin is a long-hitting Californian, the first-generation American daughter of Chinese immigrants, a raw but determined talent with fun-loving charm that is as big as her swing.

Yin is the only true LPGA rookie on the American team preparing to meet Europe in Iowa this week, the second-youngest American to play in the biennial international team event. She will be 18 years, 10 months and 15 days old when the competition begins on Friday. That’s four months older than Lexi Thompson was when she made her Solheim Cup debut four years ago.

“My team just loves her, loves her,” Inkster said.

They love the bold way Yin plays the game.

“She’s fearless,” American veteran Stacy Lewis said. “She has the length of Ariya Jutanugarn but hits it higher and straighter.”

There is something else they love, too. They love the quirky, carefree spirit Yin brings to the team room. She’s quickly fitting in as America’s version of Charley Hull, the teen who charmed and entertained the Euros with her artless ways as a rookie in Colorado four years ago. 


Solheim Cup: Articles, photos and videos

Team records: United States | Europe


Beth Allen isn’t on the American team, but she saw Yin’s charms before Yin joined the LPGA this year. They played the Ladies European Tour last year.

“I’m from California, and I could tell right away Angel was a California girl,” said 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.”

You can see it Yin’s social media posts, even in her Twitter handle. She’s @angelyinlol.

“The name Angel Yin was taken, and some friends who said I really needed to be on social media liked the idea of adding LOL on the end of my name,” Yin told GolfChannel.com “It grew on me.”

For those oblivious to all things social media, LOL is short for “laugh out loud.”

From Yin’s mischievous grin on her profile picture, to her pink-eared ski cap, you quickly see the LOL in Yin’s social media persona.

She posted a GIF of the Riverdale TV show character Jughead, ranting on how he’s different.

“I’m a weirdo. I don’t fit in. I don’t want to fit in,” Jughead rants.

“Exactly!” Yin commented in her retweet.

Yin once regaled her followers with how she suffered a bout of dehydration because she slept for 17 straight hours. And how she once got her hair caught in an elevator door.

On her 18th birthday last fall, Yin posted comically that it was something to mourn, because she was officially designated an adult, with the wonder of childhood behind her.

“Probably one of the saddest days of my life,” she wrote on Instagram. “No longer a kid anymore. From here on out, it’s just responsibility to discipline to being mature. Can’t believe this day came so fast, but on the bright side, I’m legal now and I can party almost everywhere in Europe.”

Germany’s Olivia Cowan and Iceland’s Olafia Kristinsdottir met Yin as fellow LET rookies last year.

“We call ourselves The Three Musketeers,” Cowan said. “We are besties, always together.”

With Yin entertaining the trio with her unique take on things.

“When Angel gets going, she doesn’t stop talking,” Cowan said. “She is very lively, the most fun person I know. We can talk about the stupidest things, and we can talk about it for hours.”

The funny thing about Yin is that she considers herself shy. At least, she can be in new environments. Making her start on the LPGA this year, she was cautious, socially.

“I’m just a rookie, and there are a lot of big shots on tour I’m afraid to talk to,” Yin said. “People might see me with friends and think, `She’s not shy at all,’ but in reality I’m a really shy person. It’s hard for me to come out of my shell sometimes, but once the wall’s knocked down . . .”

It’s @angelyinlol.

“I really don’t think she’s afraid of anything,” Kristinsdottir said.

Yin nearly made the American team via the U.S. Solheim Cup world rankings list. She tied for eighth at the Marathon Classic and tied for 11th at the Ricoh Women’s British Open in her last two starts. With two more birdies coming home at Kingsbarns, Yin wouldn’t have required a captain’s pick. She would have qualified with the effort.

It didn’t take LET pros long last year to see what LPGA pros are seeing this year.

Yin was second on the LET in driving distance last year, trailing only Joanna Klatten, who also led the LPGA in driving. She finished 11th on the LET Order of Merit.

Yin is seventh in the LPGA ranks in driving this season, averaging 272 yards per drive.

“The way she compresses the ball, it’s not like anyone else,” Allen said.

Yin joined the LET as a 17-year-old. She didn’t think it was right to petition the LPGA for a waiver of its rule requiring members be 18 years old, and while USC was offering her a scholarship, she believed she was ready to turn pro.

Yin’s swing coach, Bob Lasken, knew the LET and what it offered. His sister, now Kim McNary, played the LET before joining the LPGA. He offered it up as an option, and Angel’s mother was intrigued.

Michelle Yin has never played a hole of golf in her life, but she learned the game watching her daughter, listening to her coaches, watching every LPGA and PGA Tour event she could find on TV. She also read through Tiger Woods’ instructional book, “How I Play Golf.

When Angel joined the LET, Michelle picked up her bag as caddie.

“We couldn’t afford to pay a caddie,” Michelle said.

Michelle got Angel into the game almost by accident back in Arcadia, Calif.

When Angel was 6, one of Michelle’s friends approached them. The friend had a son who wanted to learn to play golf. The friend asked if Michelle would sign up Angel to join her boy in a month-long junior program at Arcadia Par 3 Golf Course. Angel didn’t have any clubs, but she borrowed a used club from the pro shop.

“My friend’s son didn’t like playing, and he quit,” Michelle said. “Angel didn’t want to quit. She loved it, and she wanted me to buy her some golf clubs.

“She told me, `Mom, don’t worry, you don’t have to come watch over me. You can just drop me off and pick me up. It will be OK.’”

So that’s what Michelle did.

But it wasn’t long until the coaches at Arcadia Par 3 were calling Michelle to tell her Angel was a promising talent, and she needed private lessons. It wasn’t long after that before a coach was calling to say Angel really ought to be competing in tournaments.

“The coach directed me to a web site, and I registered Angel for a tournament,” Michelle said. “Two years after Angel started in the game, she won the Callaway Junior Worlds in San Diego.”

Angel was 8 when she made that breakthrough.

That’s when Michelle said she started getting more involved in her daughter’s game.

“From the beginning, I just followed Angel’s lead, but she picked up everything so fast,” Michelle said. “I decided I needed to get serious and learn everything I could to support her.”

Michelle was a business woman in the import/export business back in China. She moved to the United States from her Beijing home 20 years ago. Angel was born a year later. Michelle became a U.S. citizen about 10 years ago, but Angel’s father remains in China.

“I wouldn’t be where I am now without my mother,” Angel said.

Yin has been a big deal in Southern California for a while now. At 13, she 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.

Lasken first heard about Yin when she was 10.

That’s when Lasken’s sister, Kim, the LPGA pro, teed it up in a U.S. Women’s Open qualifier at Industry Hills. She was paired with Yin.

“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’s first private instructor was Greg Castleman, with Lasken taking over about six years ago.

“Angel has that attitude of a champion,” said Lasken, who teaches out of Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo. “You always hear Angel saying `I can do this.’ You never hear her saying, `I can’t.’

“The bigger the stakes, the better she plays. It’s like she has this attitude, `Bring it on.’”

It’s why Inkster believed Yin was ready for this week’s big stage.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.