REUNION, F.L. — Angel Yin of Arcadia, California, had a three-stroke lead through 36 holes, and after opening the final round with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2, she left little doubt as to who would win the 2015 ANNIKA Invitational. Yin closed with a 6-under-par 66 and her second bogey-free round of the week, and won by eight strokes with a tournament-record score of 12-under-par.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the ANNIKA Invitational was a 54-hole stroke play competition that featured 72 girls, ages 13-18, from 14 foreign countries, 16 states and Puerto Rico. The par-72 Watson Course at Reunion Resort was played at 6,347 yards.
There are many numbers that sum up Yin’s dominating performance. She carded 13 birdies and just one bogey in 54 holes. She tied the 18-hole scoring record Monday, and her eight-stroke victory mirrored Bethany Wu’s record-setting margin of victory last year.
But for Yin, the victory alone is more important than any statistic.
“This is my first AJGA win and Invitational win, so it was pretty exciting to give my first winning speech,” Yin said. “From this week I’ll remember that my friends sprayed me with water (on the 18th green), I gave my first speech, and I took a lot of pictures with Annika.”
The par 5s were the key to Yin’s victory, as she birdied seven straight, spanning across the second and final rounds.
“Since I hit it really long, I was able to find the spots where I can chip it close and one-putt,” Yin said. “The past two days, I was able to control it and the par 5s were really able to help me.”
Ruixin Liu (China) of Orlando, Florida, fell off the pace on the front nine, but birdies on Nos. 14-16 helped her post her third consecutive round under par and finish second at 4-under-par.
“Before hole 13, it’s like I was sleepy. And then after that (first birdie), I felt like I woke up,” said Liu, who closed with a final-round 71. “After I birdied No. 14, I felt a lot more amped up and had more energy.”
Mika Liu of Beverly Hills, California, finished third at 3-under-par 213, while Samantha Wagner of Windermere, Florida, and Alyaa Abdulghany of Newport Beach, California, tied for fourth at 1-under-par 215.