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Angel Yin wins first LPGA Shanghai for first tour victory

Angel Yin made birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat World No. 1 Lilia Vu and secure her first tour win at the Buick LPGA Shanghai on Sunday in China.

Yin, the co-leader with Maja Stark to start the day, shot a 2-under 70 on the final round and needed a par after finding the fairway bunker on No. 18 to force the playoff. After posting a 68, Vu was in the clubhouse with the lead at 14-under 274 for the tournament.

The bunker shot at Qizhong Garden Country Club didn’t faze Yin.

“I said to my caddie, this is a great lie. Everything is perfect. If I can’t hit it, I just [stink]. So that was either this or that,” Yin said after her first win in her 159th LPGA event. “I told him everything is set up for me to do it. If I can’t, then that’s just on me.”

Five players finished a shot back at 13-under, including Hye-Jin Choi of South Korea, who recorded an 8-under 64 in a bogey-free round. Home-country favorite Yi Liu posted a 68 to gain her third consecutive top-10 finish in Shanghai.

While the day ended in elation for Yin, it ended in disappointment for Stark, who held at least a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds. In the final group with Yin, Stark had an up-and-down round on her way to an even-par 72, mixing five birdies with a double bogey and three bogeys to finish at 12-under and in a tie for eighth place.

Her fellow Swede, Madelene Sagstrom, also was in the group of five players tied for eighth after setting a tournament 18-hole record with a 9-under 63.

Vu, playing in the group ahead of Yin, put the pressure on Yin throughout the day, starting with four birdies in the first five holes to give her a one-stroke lead. The two Americans were tied at 13-under through 16 holes, and each finished the par-5 17th hole to set up the playoff.

It was the second playoff of the season between the players, the first coming at The Chevron Championship in April, won by Vu. And she thought she could have played better on Sunday.

“I made a lot of mistakes today, to be honest, and I felt like this was definitely not my A-game, but I knew that the more I play the golf course the better I get at it, and I knew I had a good chance today,” she said. “Today was just Angel’s day. I’m happy for her.”

Yin had trouble finding the words to express her emotions after finally breaking through with her first win.

“Honestly, I’m still living in the moment so much that I haven’t been able to draw on the past to think about the journey and where I am right now,” said the 25-year-old Californian, who earned $315,000 with the win.

“Throughout the round I was thinking to myself, it’s not easy to win. It’s not easy to win. Just very grateful,” she continued.

Defending champion Danielle Kang (71) finished in a tie for 17th at 9-under.

–Field Level Media

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