The Augusta National Women’s Amateur has arrived — Angel Yin returns

The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, April 4, 2024

It’s been an epic week for women’s sports (March Madness always delivers on the drama), so it is my pleasure to present another edition of Golf Thursday to commemorate one of the best weeks in golf.

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Over the last few years, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA for short) has become a premier amateur event on the schedule. Taking place just a week before the Masters, women’s golf takes center stage at one of the game’s most prominent venues, and we get the opportunity to witness history. From Jennifer Kupcho to Anna Davis to Rose Zhang, ANWA has presented the next generation of stars in a picture-perfect bow for us.

Women’s golf has a jam-packed weekend ahead, so here’s what you need to know.

With an insanely stacked field — including top-ranked amateur Ingrid Lindblad of LSU, a former champ in Davis, and Amari Avery of USC — the first day of competition delivered once more with nearly 30 of the 72 players shooting under par.

Round 2 is already underway at Champions Retreat, a notoriously tough track that has given players a bit of a tough time in the past, to decide the top 30 and ties who will advance to Saturday’s final round at Augusta. (Friday is a practice round open to all regardless of the cut line.)

Hannah Darling of South Carolina carded eight birdies en route to her opening-round 66, setting an ANWA record for the most birdies in a single round. With Lindblad breathing down her neck just a shot behind, Darling sees herself as a bit of an underdog. Make no mistake about it, though — Darling is a baller.

The Scottish golfer is no stranger to success internationally: Before the now-junior started her career as a Gamecock, she was the reigning British Girls champion. She snagged top-10 finishes in big international events such as the World Amateur Team Championship and European Ladies Amateur and now has found her footing with golf in the U.S.

Thursday’s round will be quite telling for who will hoist the trophy for Saturday. Those who make the cut face the daunting task of playing one of golf’s most infamous courses. Augusta National’s dramatic elevation, false fronts and glass-like greens will make it rather difficult to score. Only a handful of players have shot a round in the 60s, and no one did in last year’s final round. And though players may not be able to win the tournament in the second round, they can certainly play themselves out of contention.

And though we most certainly have Georgia on our minds, the LPGA is heating up the desert for the T-Mobile Match Play presented by MGM Rewards.

This event’s format is by far the most interesting on the schedule. Starting a day early, the Wednesday and Thursday rounds are stroke play with a cut after 36 holes to the top 65 and ties. Friday’s stroke play will have a cut after 54 holes to the top eight players. Saturday is a single-elimination match-play bracket round with quarterfinals in the morning and semifinals in the afternoon. All that leads to Sunday’s final round of a single-elimination match-play bracket and the championship match.

Confused yet? Our friend Sarah Kellam has us covered with more details about the event.

World No. 1 Nelly Korda had an uncharacteristic Wednesday round of 73 (+1), but maybe we’ve gotten so accustomed to her winning that we forget that she’s still human. In her last three starts, Korda has managed three wins — and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that when she’s in form, she’s impossible to beat. After a winless 2023, Korda is looking better than ever swing-wise, and her timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Vegas is the last event before the first major of the year — the Chevron Championship — just two weeks away. This week serves as a dress rehearsal to get in reps before the Chevron. With unique formatting and a gorgeous backdrop, the T-Mobile Match Play will be exciting to watch as fans everywhere gear up for back-to-back weeks of major championship golf. (Masters week is nearly here, and I’m bursting at the seams.)

Read how to watch ANWA and how to watch the T-Mobile Match Play. Happy viewing!

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This week in women’s golf

If you have links you wish to share for Golf Thursday, have sources for golf news, or want to talk about anything at all, you can email me at! Discussion of any kind is always welcome. I mean it — message me!

LPGA news

Featured Groups: 2024 T-Mobile Match Play presented by MGM Rewards

Field Breakdown: 2024 T-Mobile Match Play presented by MGM Rewards

Five things to know about the T-Mobile Match Play presented by MGM Rewards

Making Moves: Hira Naveed rockets up in rankings

LET news

Meghan MacLaren back to defend LET title

Epson Tour news

Fun-filled Florida swing concludes Epson Tour’s season-opening stretch

NCAA/amateur news

From Netflix documentary star to USC standout, Amari Avery has redefined the type of player she is

Clemson’s Annabelle Pancake is a player to watch this week at ANWA

Other news

My LPGA story on LaRee Sugg

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Here at The IX, we’re collaborating with The Ice Garden to bring you Hockey Friday. And if you want the women’s hockey goodness 24/7? Well, you should subscribe to The Ice Garden now!

Five at The IX: Angel Yin’s first tournament start of 2024

Welcome back, Angel Yin! The 25-year-old pulled out of the season’s opener at Lake Nona for an undisclosed injury, but spectators spotted her making her media rounds in a boot. After two months away from competition due to a broken foot, Yin is in the field this week in Vegas. Here’s what she had to say to the media.

Q. Just to start things off, how are you doing? How are you feeling first tournament back?

ANGEL YIN: Feel good and walking. I’m upright, which is new. A lot taller than I thought I was going to be. So it feels really good. Feels really good to be walking again on the golf course.

But I picked a really good week to be back because everything is on the side of a hill.

Q. First tournament of 2024. You’ve had a few months here. What have you been working on?

YIN: A lot of PS5. [Laughter.] Nothing. My mom was like, ‘You should read a book and get educated.’ I was like, ‘Nah.’ [making video game noises]

That’s pretty much it. And then once I started playing golf, all I did was play golf and then I worked out quite a bit. Just because I was so excited to be upright, I was just doing anything I possibly could. Swimming, rehab. That’s been my main focus. Haven’t really been doing that much. Haven’t jumped off a plane yet, like Bailey [Tardy].

Q. Can you describe what you had going on medically?

YIN: Medically, I think I took things too literal. People told me to break a leg and I went out and actually did it.

Q. How did you do that?

YIN: I fell, because that’s the only way to break a leg.

Q. You had a little bit of success here last year. Is that one of the reasons you chose to come back here or just medically ready to go?

YIN: Well, it wasn’t just this week. Obviously everyone wants to come back to Vegas because it’s fun. I do.

The course, Shadow Creek, pretty legendary itself. Weather is similar to California, warm. But obviously two weeks from now it’s a major, so this is now or never.

I don’t really think I’m fully ready, but I have to take a chance to prep myself for the upcoming major, which I think is pretty important to me, especially since this is an Olympic year.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Addie Parker