Rookie professional Angel Yin of the United States and Sophie Walker of England set the clubhouse target at three-under-par with matching rounds of 71 in the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino in perfect conditions at Aloha Golf Club this morning, however local star Azahara Muñoz took the lead on five-under-par after a blistering first nine of 31.
Walker, 32, from Grimsby, birdied the fourth and seventh holes before making bogey on the ninth. She made a third birdie on No.13 before dropping a second shot on No. 14.
“I’m playing really solid. I hit 17 greens yesterday and 17 today and putted well,” said Walker, (below), who played her first round in the afternoon wave in windy conditions. “We hadn’t played in wind all week and when I arrived yesterday afternoon it was like someone had just turned the wind on. It was really tough out there but coming from the coast I enjoyed the challenge.
“I’ve got one of those Green Books, so it’s really helpful and I Aim Point. You’ve just got to get the right pace. It’s amazing how much break there is. It’s hard work. There aren’t really any ‘gimme’ holes. Even on the short holes, the greens are really severe so it’s about who holes the most and who plays steady.”
Yin, 17, from Los Angeles, is playing in Spain for the first time and commented: “I feel good right now. The course is playing tougher today than yesterday and the greens are a lot faster. It sound silly now because I’m kind of in the lead but my target was to make the cut. Now it’s a top five or to keep the lead.”
A prodigious talent who is ranked fifth in driving distance on Tour with an average drive of 260 yards, Yin has posted two top 10s from six starts on the LET this season, including a best finish of third at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco and tied ninth at the recent ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters in Germany.
She is currently 19th on the Order of Merit and lying second on the Rookie rankings, behind top ranked Spaniard Nuria Iturrios, the Lalla Meryem Cup champion. Yin has earned €51,551.67 so far this season and is €28,177.50 behind Iturrios. The winner’s cheque this week is €45,000, so there is much at stake, with Yin looking to become the first United States player to win the LET’s Rookie of the Year prize since Laura Diaz (née Philo) in 1998 and the fourth American to win the award overall.