On a thrilling last day, where the leaderboard was constantly moving and the trophy was anyone’s to grab, Xiaowen Yin walked away victorious. She secured her first professional win at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship after defeating Gina Kim in a one-hole playoff.
“I don’t know how to describe how I’m feeling right now,” said Yin. “It was amazing, really incredible.”
Yin’s wire-to-wire victory did not come easy. She shared the lead throughout all three rounds and didn’t pull away for the win until making a massive par putt on the first playoff hole. After two rogue shots on No. 18 – for the second time – some would think the playoff was making Yin nervous. However, she disagrees.
“In my mind, I didn’t really get nervous,” said Yin. “I think when I hit, the ball was getting nervous. The ball was right and left.”
She says she’s getting used to the pressure and the feelings that brings. On the China LPGA, Xiaowen found herself in the same position she did today. However, the last time she was leading, she shot 87 on the final round day, very different from her 4-under round on Sunday.
“I want to just keep it up,” said Yin. “I really hope I can make it in the top-10 this season, but if not, it’s okay. I can play Stage I.”
Finishing solo second, at 13-under was Gina Kim. She matched Yin’s six birdies with six of her own.
“I thought I played some pretty solid golf,” said Kim. “Some of the puts weren’t going in, but I feel like golf is like that sometimes. I think my games in a good spot, so we’ll try again next week.”
Kim leaves Battle Creek, Michigan with another top-3 finish, and while it wasn’t the outcome she wanted, the North Carolina native finds the bright side on the week.
“Whether I won or not, as long as I knew my game was in a good spot and I could feel it, that was good enough for me,” said Kim. “It definitely sucks not to come out as a winner, but there’s a reason for everything.”
Two strokes from the lead were three players tied for third. Second round leader, Rachel Rohanna, Grace Kim and Laura Wearn finished the week at 11-under. Wearn played a 6-under final round and carded eight birdies, propelling her from T10 to T3.
“It was really exciting to finally have a nice round,” said Wearn. “I’ve been kind of struggling all year, so it was nice to put something good together.”
Kim and Rohanna shot final rounds of 4-under and 2-under, respectively.