Ruoning Yin Claims Maiden Major Title In KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

The Chinese player won by one shot after an enthralling fourth round at Baltusrol Golf Club

Ruoning Yin with the trophy following her win in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Baltusrol
Ruoning Yin won her maiden Major with the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Baltusrol
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ruoning Yin held off the challenge of a clutch of players to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in a thrilling final day at Baltusrol Golf Club.

The Chinese player finished eight under helped by a bogey free final round 67 that included four birdies for her maiden Major title.

After heading into the final round with a one-shot lead, there was plenty of expectation that Leona Maguire would claim her first Major win. However, it wasn’t quite her day.

After bogeys on the sixth and eighth, there was a sense that Maguire’s challenge was fading as Chinese star Xiyu Lin climbed to the top of the leadeboard following five birdies in her opening nine holes.

In truth, though, at various points, it seemed probable that any of around a dozen players could take the title with a similar run.

A break of almost two hours due to potentially dangerous weather appeared to knock one of the contenders, Ayaka Furue, out of her stride. The Japanese star began her final round like a player on a mission with six birdies in the first 13 holes. However, just as it looked as though she would mount a challenge, successive bogeys saw her drop into the chasing pack behind Lin.

While Furue faded, others remained firmly in contention, including Yin, Yuka Saso, Carlota Ciganda, Jenny Shin and Stephanie Meadow.

Elsewhere, Rose Zhang was once again proving that the hype surrounding her is more than justified. Zhang sensationally won on the LPGA Tour in her first tournament as a pro at the Mizuho Americas Open, and she was making elite level golf look easy with five birdies in 11 holes to move within one of the lead before her progress was slowed with a bogey on the 13th.

With every contender at various stages of their back nines, though, it was still anyone’s guess which player would take the tournament by the scruff of the neck.

It once again looked like it could be Zhang when she bounced back from her first bogey of the day with her sixth birdie on the 15th to move to T2 at six under. Zhang made par at the 15th to remain one behind Lin - along with four others - with three to play. As for Lin, after that spectacular opening nine, things had settled down considerably with six successive pars going into her final three holes.

Yin joined Lin at the top of the leaderboard following her second successive birdie on the 14th and that became a three-way tie soon after with Saso’s fifth birdie of the round at the 15th.

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Shortly after, Zhang fell two behind the leaders with her second bogey in three holes on the 16th. Saso suffered the same fate on the same hole to fall one behind the leaders.

Zhang’s chances of reviving her challenge faded when a birdie putt on the 17th somehow didn’t drop, leaving her two behind with just one to play and needing a repeat of her eagle at the same stage in the third round to seriously contend.

Back at the top of the leaderboard, Lin hit her tee shot off the 18th into the water. However, seconds later, the same thing happened to Zhang. Still level with Lin, Yin came agonisingly close to taking the outright lead on the 17th, but her birdie putt missed by a fraction. She would have the lead before long.

Soon after, Zhang saved par to finish T6, while a bogey finish from Lin left her compatriot and friend Yin one clear with one to play. There was more drama when Saso joined Yin at the top with a birdie on 18 to leave Yin needing the same outcome to regain the outright lead. She gave herself every chance with a superb third shot for a realistic birdie opportunity. The 20-year-old held her nerve to hole it.

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That left Meadow the last player who could realistically catch her, but she’d need an eagle on the 18th to do it. Nerves got the better of her on her second shot, which found the water, but she got a lucky break as her ball skimmed on to dry land. Needing to hole her third shot from 130 yards, it came up short, handing Yin the title.

The win also sees Yin take home $1.5m of the record $10m purse.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.