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Golf: Lin Xiyu tops Chinese 1-2-3 to retain Sanya Ladies Open title

Lin Xiyu held off Jennifer Yan and Feng Shanshan to win the Sanya Ladies Open. Photo: LET.

Janet Lin, 19, held off Jennifer Yan and Feng Shanshan to win the Sanya Ladies Open. Photo: LET.

November 8, 2015: China No. 2 Janet Lin Xiyu fired a final round of seven-under-par 65 in scorching conditions at Yalong Bay Golf Club to successfully retain her title at the Sanya Ladies Open in tropical Hainan.


The 19-year-old from Guangzhou ended with a 54-hole total of 13-under, finishing two clear of compatriot Jennifer Yan Jing, China’s No. 3, and three clear of World No. 6 Jenny Feng Shanshan, the long-time China No. 1. Taiwanese youngster Cheng Ssu-chia tied for fourth with Beth Allen of the USA in the Ladies European Tour event.


Lin started the final day four shots back, but took the lead after making three birdies in her first six holes. She then birdied the eighth and was a stroke ahead at the turn. Three birdies in a row from the 12th secured her advantage but having played in the third last group, there was a nervous wait before she was declared the champion.


“It’s the first time I’ve been waiting in the clubhouse to see if someone could catch me and I was so nervous,” Lin said. “I kept telling myself, whatever happens, just accept that and thank God it was a good result.”


Her score could have been lower had she made birdie putts on the 15th, 16th and 18th holes. “On the last couple of holes, I was a little bit mad, because I missed a short putt on 15, I missed a birdie on 16 and then missed a putt on the last from eight feet.


“After nine holes I was the same as last year, 10 under and I was telling myself to finish at least 15 this year, trying to make it a little bit better. Unfortunately I didn’t but I gave myself lots of chances and I hit the ball very solid. I’m so glad my long game was really good and even my wedges were getting better the last couple of holes.”


Lin won on 14 under par last year and she has never finished outside the top 10 in six editions of the tournament. “I just love this course so much – every hole, every fairway, every green. I need to find out why I always play well in Sanya.”


Lin also paid tribute to her caddie Mardi Lunn, a former LPGA player:  “I started to work with her in April this year and she’s really helped me a lot because she used to be a good player and win tournaments. She knows what I’m thinking and we’re having a good cooperation.”


Yan, 17, from Shanghai, had a final round of 68 for solo second, bouncing back from the disappointment of being disqualified from last month’s Xiamen Open where she signed for a wrong score.


“I felt like at the end if I played better there was a chance to get to that number one spot or tie it, but I’m happy with the way I held up,” said Yan, whose father Ming acted as her caddie.


“Overall it has been a pretty good week after what happened at the last tournament. It’s a learning experience so I tried to put that behind me and tried to think about moving forward and playing the best golf I can.”


Feng, 26, felt that her first appearance in the Sanya Ladies Open was a success, despite a disappointing final round of 70.


“I would say I had a rough start today. I started with a bogey on the par five and then missed a couple of greens. It didn’t start the way it should have, but I made four birdies from the ninth to the 16th, so that was not bad,” she said.


On the all-Chinese top three, Feng commented: “I think that’s the first time ever. First and second place, they are both under 20, so I’m really happy to see that because the Chinese girls are doing a lot better and they are trying to catch up. I feel like the pressure is off now, because they are good enough to be on the leaderboard. It’s not just me. I’m not lonely anymore, so I’m happy.”


Lin picked up golf at the age of eight, when Feng was 15, and the pair are good friends. “I started playing golf because of her dad and she has always been my role model,” said Lin. “The last two years she’s helped me a lot and I’m always trying to catch up with her. Recently I did pretty well, but I still think she’s such a great player and she’s still my idol.”


Feng is now set to wrap up this year’s LET Order of Merit when she plays in next month’s Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, where she will be the defending champion.


Source: Ladies European Tour (; Editing by SportAsia

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