The second annual Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic has come to a close after 36-holes of play in Pendleton, Oregon. With the air quality index sitting above 330 with no relief in sight, the decision was made to cancel today's final round and declare an official 36-hole event. The LPGA AQI guidelines consider this level "Hazardous," and as such, the rounds must be delayed, suspended or canceled as determined in the discretion of the LPGA Rules Committee.
"The safety of our athletes, volunteers, and staff is of the utmost importance," said Epson Tour Chief Business and Operations Officer Jody Brothers. "I'm disappointed for the athletes, our tremendous sponsor in Wildhorse Resort & Casino, and the fans who were here to see an exciting finish."
After 36 holes, Xiaowen Yin held a three-shot lead and is now the 2023 Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic champion. Yin put together back-to-back rounds of 66 (-6) to get her total to -12 for the tournament. In her 36-holes played, Yin only posted three bogeys to accompany her 15 birdies. The 18-year-old is an LPGA Tour member but had visa issues and was unable to play in the ISPS Handa World Invitational this week in Northern Ireland. With the win in Pendleton, Yin picked up her third career Epson Tour victory and will take the momentum from this win into the rest of the LPGA Tour season.
"I am feeling so excited and so happy," said Yin. "This win means a lot to me because it has been a long season on the LPGA, and it hasn't really gone well. This win just gives me a lot of confidence going into the next couple of LPGA events."
Ashley Lau finished the 2023 Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic in solo third at 7-under but potentially gained the most from the finish. The rookie came into the week 128th on the Race for the Card Standings and potentially heading to LPGA Qualifying Tournament - Stage I if she did not make the cut. Lau put up back-to-back sub-70 rounds to play her way out of Stage I and into the top 70 on the Official Money List.
"This week definitely serves as a confidence booster and proof that things are going in the right direction," said Lau. "I came into this week already accepting the thought that I would be going to Stage 1. Whatever happens, happens is what I told myself a lot this week, so I do not have so much pressure on myself and it freed me up to just go out there and play golf and have fun.”
The event did not end how anyone expected, including Lau. The top 3 finish has yet to set in fully, but the 23-year-old already has her eyes set on the top 35 for the end of the season.
"It felt really weird. I have never been in this position before, so I have not really soaked everything in yet, but I am very happy with how this week went," said Lau. "I am going to trust what I am doing and hopefully bag a couple more of these good results and play my way into the top 35. I have always been someone that sets small goals, so I will start with that."
Alana Uriell rounded out the top-3 finishers with a solo second finish at -9 for the tournament. Five players sat in a tie for fourth a 6-under-par, respectively.