It was a stacked leaderboard heading into the final day of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, with edge of your seat viewing as Ruoning Yin sank a final hole birdie to win her first Major title

When it comes to talented 20-year-old golfers, all the talk this Major week was about Rose Zhang and her bid to win her second event as a professional and her first Major.

Zhang was cautious but excited at the start of the week and spoke about being a little burned out and not being one hundred percent happy with her swing.

Fighting back from a disappointing 74 on Friday, Zhang had a solid weekend and as she headed into the back nine on Sunday four-under for her round, fans started to sit up and take note.

A thrilling Sunday finale

The 2023 KPMG Women's PGA Championship final round was always going to be a tight one, the course had proved tricky and there wasn't one player, maybe except for Leona Maguire, that had managed to get the measure of the course. The Irishwoman was the only one who had shot three rounds in the sixties heading into Sunday.

Although Maguire only had a one shot lead, it seemed she was best placed to continue her solid form and take home a first Major for an Irishwoman.

The problem was Baltusrol and the chasing pack had other ideas.

Whilst many of the chasing pack were sinking birdies all over the course, Maguire found she just couldn't get one to drop. She was almost shocked into her final round as playing partner Jenny Shin had a fantastic birdie on the first hole to draw level.

When the final group of Maguire, Shin and Stephanie Meadow were on the eighth green, the hooter sounded for bad weather. Maguire was one-over for her round at this point whilst players such as Carlota Ciganda were seven-under-par for theirs and one shot back. Ayaka Furue was six-under-par and also a shot back.

The weather delay of nearly two hours didn't seem to help Maguire or Shin, but also seemed to stop Ciganda in her tracks, as she scrambled to make par of the last and finish in a tie for third at six-under-par.

Zhang into contention

Cameras and attention quickly shifted to Zhang who came back out and made a birdie on 11 to join the group on six-under. Speculation started to mount on social media... she couldn't could she?

As excitement built, Zhang bogeyed the par four 13th and although she gained a shot back on 14, another dropped shot on 16 made it feel like it wasn't to be. Fans remained optimistic with two par fives to finish but Zhang wasn't able to convert and finished in a tie for eighth.

The 2021 U.S. Open Champion, Yuka Saso who was 19 when she won her Major, put in a superb final back nine with five birdies and one bogey to set the target at seven-under-par in the clubhouse.

There were so many players in contention that you could be forgiven for not keeping up with it all. Three time Major Champion Anna Norqvist stormed up the leaderboard with a final round of 65, whilst American Megan Khang also ended up in a tie for third with the Swede, Ciganda, Meadow and Xiyu Lin.

Xiyu Lin came so close

Lin was almost overshadowed by being in the same group as Zhang but also because she had a pretty steady back nine and if it weren't for a bogey at the last she would have been tied with Saso at seven-under-par. Lin reflected on her round:

"It was still a good day. I gave it all I have. Unfortunately I didn't hit a good tee shot on the last hole. But it could have happened any other hole. I think overall I gave myself good chances. It's still a really good Sunday to have a lot to take away from."

More than one talented 20-year-old

Back to my initial point about 20-year-old talented players, Ruoning Yin turned pro two years ago and after going through China LPGA qualifying won her first three events on the China LPGA Tour. Does that sound familiar?

Gaining her LPGA tour card she was a rookie last year and seemed to need time to settle. However, something changed for the 2023 season and she came into this Major week with a win in April at the DIO Implant LA Open. Earlier in the week Yin said:

"I think this year versus last year, the big difference is I see myself can win on this tour, and I did early this year, which gives me a lot of confidence. I just believe I belong to this tour, now I can win more."

2023 KPMG Women's PGA Champion - Ruoning Yin

And win more is exactly what she has done. A four-under-par round of 67 with a fantastic birdie on the last hole gave the Chinese sensation her first Major victory, becoming only the second Chinese woman to win a Major.

"It means a lot, but it still feels unreal right now. Before today, I didn't even think about it. After nine holes when we were at the clubhouse, I started thinking about, oh, maybe I have a chance to win this championship."

So, when it comes to talented 20-year-old golfers, we would do well to remember, me included, that the breadth and depth of talent of players on the LPGA Tour is vast, it's not just down to one player to grow the profile of the sport.

We now have a week to gather ourselves before momentum builds again for the U.S. Women's Open at Pebble Beach. This thrilling final round is only going to help to garner more interest for the women's game as they head towards, possibly, their toughest test this year.

Bring on Pebble!

View the final KPMG Women's PGA Championship leaderboard here.

Inspired by the second women's Major of the season? Why not come and watch the best players in the world at the AIG Women's Open this summer at Walton Heath. Ticket prices start from £20.