After 18 holes of the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship, two share the lead at 5-under. Xiaowen Yin and Ruoning Yin hold a one-stroke lead in a tight race for the 2022 title.
“I feel amazing,” said X. Yin. “This is my first time leading, so I was really happy.”
Xiaowen carded six birdies on the day and just missed a bogey-free round, recording a frustrating lone bogey. She bounced back and finished her round with three pars a birdie.
“That bogey was stupid,” said X. Yin. “My game doesn’t have problems; I was just in my head. I did think I could get back for the last couple holes.”
Ruoning went bogey free, carding five birdies on the day. She started her round 2-under thru 3 and closed out her back nine with two consecutive birdies.
“Bogey free is always good,” said R. Yin. “I haven’t played a bogey free round for almost a year, so it’s pretty good. I’m improving my game a lot.”
Similar to Xiaowen, Ruoning also hasn’t seen her name near the top of the leaderboard for some time. Walking off 18 green and seeing her name at the top of the leaderboard was an uplifting moment.
“It feels pretty good,” said R. Yin. “I haven’t been on the top for a while, so I’m just going to play my game for the next two days.”
Four players sit one stroke behind Xiaowen and Ruoning Yin, tied for third. Jaravee Boonchant, Daniela Darquea, Alexa Pano and Gina Kim all signed for 4-under 68.
Boonchant carded seven birdies on the day, three of which opened her round on Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
“I’m happy with how I played today and where I am,” said Boonchant. “I haven’t been up the leaderboard for a while, so I’m excited and looking forward for tomorrow.”
Pano and Darquea recorded six and five birdies respectively, while Kim carded four birdies and a lone eagle on No. 1. Kim says patience is key to playing well at Battle Creek Country Club.
“This course does have its challenges,” said Kim. “You have to play smart, you can’t make any reckless mistakes out here. Even though at the beginning the birdies weren’t coming out, I had to remind myself to stay patient and keep staying in it.”
A total of 68 players shot even par or better, including defending champion, Fernanda Lira at even par.