The final day of the Circling Raven Championship saw low scores all around. Two players shot impressive 8-under 64s, while three others signed for 7-under 65s. One of those two 64s came from Yue Ren, who forced a two-hole playoff with first- and second-round leader, Chanettee Wannasaen, ultimately walking away victorious at 13-under. Ren picked up her first Epson Tour victory and a $33,750 winner’s check on Sunday in Idaho.
“I feel so excited and a little tired,” laughed Ren. “I’m so happy. The last few weeks, I wasn’t feeling good with my game, and I made little improvements on my swing. My chipping and putting was good, and my irons and driver were much better. My putting was really good; I love my putter. Today I was feeling really good about my game. On all of my shots, I just did my best.”
Ren posted an impressive round before the playoff, going bogey-free for the first time since the first round of the Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes in May, where she also shot an 8-under 64. The People’s Republic of China native avoided bogey in the two playoff holes as well, going par-par to defeat Wannasaen.
“I think it’s tied for my best career score,” said Ren. “At the (Garden City Charity Classic), I had a 64. I was making a lot of putts today, but I still missed some for three yards. My iron shots around the green were really good. I gave myself a lot of birdie chances.”
Wannsaen also picked up her best Epson Tour finish this season. The Thailand native carded five birdies and a lone bogey on the day, signing for a final-round 68. Consistency was key to Wannasaen’s top-three finish as she carded rounds of 67-68-68 across all three days of tournament play. The LPGA and Epson Tour rookie now sits at No. 48 on the Epson Tour official money list with five events left in the 2023 season.
Just one shot shy of the playoff, in a share of third, are Israel’s Laetitia Beck and the Republic of Korea’s Minji Kang. Beck was the other player who fired an 8-under 64 during the final round. Kang was also under par, signing for her third consecutive 4-under, 68 on Sunday.
Beck started her round strong with an eagle on the par-5 3rd hole. It was evident that it gave her momentum, as she went on to birdie seven more holes before signing her scorecard. The 31-year-old tried her best to forget the score and keep herself in the present, which was a little bit easier to do with a friend on the bag.
“After the eagle, I tried distracting myself. Then every time I made another birdie I tried forgetting about the score because I knew I was doing well,” said Beck. “I tried staying in the present and had a friend on my bag which helped. After finishing 18 with an 8-under score, I was relieved. I’m happy and proud that I was able to finish strong together.”
Rounding out the top five, are Ashley Lau, Hira Naveed, Laura Wearn and Robyn Choi, who all finished the tournament 10-under to sit in a tie for fifth. All four had under-par final rounds, with Lau carding the low round of the group (-7). Naveed made a hole-in-one on No. 4 with an 8-iron from 146 yards, signing for the second-lowest round of the group (-6).