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Lefty Lin Leading China's New Breed

Lin in today's press conference (Photo: Henry Peters )
Amateur star Lin Yuxin is one of the new breed of young Chinese golfers setting the trend for the game in that country.

The left-hander recently won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Wellington and has, therefore, a start at the Masters and the Open Championship in 2018 but, first things first, he has a start in this week’s Australian Open.

Lin is rapidly developing a reputation as one of the game’s longest hitters even at his young age. Figures have been revealed that suggest he has a ball exit speed faster than that of Bubba Watson and Gary Woodland, two of the longer hitters on the PGA Tour, and his effort over the closing stages at Royal Wellington further confirms that.

Lin drove at the green at the 325-metre par-four 17th and then hit a 5-iron from 210 metres to 15 feet to eagle the last and quickly put a gap between himself and runner-up Andy Zhang.   

Lin was one of four Chinese golfers to finish inside the top five at Royal Wellington, a performance that highlights the tremendous progress Chinese golf is making at the elite end of the amateur game.

Golf in China may be experiencing a slowdown in approvals for new courses and a closing of many existing courses as authorities clamp down on golfing facilities that have not always received the appropriate approvals, but it is rapidly becoming a numbers game as far as elite golf is concerned.

“I mean, golf is definitely getting more popular in China,” said Lin.  “I mean, getting close to a major winner, might happen in the next couple of years, which is what I hope is going to happen.”

Of course, his fellow countrywoman Shanshan Feng, already has a major in women’s golf and is currently the World No. 1 but there is also little doubt of the rise of the men’s game in that country.

Today Lin joined Australia’s Min Woo Lee in a media conference to discuss their inclusion in the field and various aspects of their own games.

Lin found it hard to contain his own enthusiasm for the opportunity he has been offered this week by Golf Australia although it is his second appearance in the event.

“I’m definitely looking forward to this week. Obviously, it’s a great tournament with a big crowd, so I’m really looking forward.

“I like the feeling to play in front of the big crowds and with the hard greens over here - the greens in Australia were kind of hard, so I wasn’t really used to that last year, so I’ll probably do a better job this year.

“I’m still trying to learn experiences from all the other players in the field, especially all the good players, especially with Jordan Spieth and Jason Day and just trying to - I don’t really have a goal for this week, I’m just trying to play some good golf.”

Lin’s win in Wellington was the third win by the Chinese in nine Asia-Pacific Amateur Championships and opens up huge opportunity for him at Augusta National in April and Carnoustie in July.

“I mean, all my friends were just surprised and they’re really happy for me, after I won in New Zealand.  I mean, they’re just really surprised and really excited to watch me at the Masters.

Since his win at Royal Wellington just under a month ago, Lin has continued to travel the world. “I played two events, one in Hong Kong and in America. Then I had a week off last week, so I didn’t really do a lot of practice, so hopefully I can actually hit the fairways this week.”

Lin will tomorrow play with fellow left-handers Nick Cullen and Richard Green in what will be a battle of the 'southpaws'.

SIGNATURE HOLES: HOPE ISLAND'S SENSATIONAL 17TH

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