China’s Yin Ruoning became the world No 1 in women’s golf on Sunday by finishing third at the Queen City Championship.
The 20-year-old became only the second Chinese woman to claim the No 1 ranking after Feng Shanshan, who reached the summit from November 2017 to April 2018.
“It means a lot. For me it’s like dream come true,” Yin said. “I’ve got goosebumps. World No 1 is the big step on the way to chasing Shanshan.”
Yin will play on a Chinese team coached by Feng in the Asian Games, which open on 23 September on home soil at Hangzhou.
“I didn’t get a lot of chance to chat with Shanshan,” Yin said. “But I’m looking forward to going back to China and play the Asian Games and spend more time with her, considering she’s the head coach on our national team.”
Yin, who needed a top-four result to overtake American Lilia Vu for the top spot, missed out by two strokes on a playoff for the Queen City title between Australia’s Minjee Lee, who won the title with a birdie on the second extra hole, and England’s Charley Hull.
But Yin fired a final-round five-under-par 67 to finish third on 14-under 274 at Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio, and become the fifth different player atop the rankings this year.
“It’s just amazing,” Yin said. “My mind is blank right now.”
Second-ranked Yin won her first Major title in June at the Women’s PGA Championship, two months after collecting her first LPGA Tour victory at the LA Open.
Others atop the rankings this year included New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, Americans Vu and Nelly Korda and South Korea’s Ko Jin-young.
Vu’s three triumphs this year included Major wins at the Chevron Championship in April and the Women’s Open in August.
Yin never managed to share the lead, settling for her fourth third-place finish in five events, but did what she needed to leap to the top of the rankings.
“I’m pretty comfortable,” Yin said. “Just every week I know I’m in good spot and every week I can put myself into that winning circle. It’s just amazing to see I can play good, but also consistent.”
Yin sandwiched birdies at the par-five 2nd and 4th holes around another at the par-three 3rd to charge into third early.
She began the back nine with a birdie and added another at the par-five 15th to solidify her hold on the spot, then parred her way to the clubhouse.
“Before this week, I know [depending on] what position I finish, I can be the world No 1,” Yin said. “I just keep that in my mind.
“Last hole I checked the leaderboard. I was like, ‘OK, another week finishing third, but I’m assuming I’ll be the world No 1.'”
© Agence France-Presse