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Diaz-Yi dominates WAPL final

The Thousand Oaks resident cruises to victory to earn prestigious championship

There was no need to play 36 holes in this year's Women's Amateur Public Links Championship, as SCGA member Lauren Diaz-Yi dominated her competition Doris Chen, sealing the victory with a 10 & 9 win in just 27 holes. It was more of the same for Diaz-Yi, a member of Tierra Rejada GC, who got out to an early lead in most of her WAPL matches this week. She never trailed in the final, which was conducted at the 6,351-yard, par-72 Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.

"It feels really great," said Diaz-Yi. "It's my first real big win and to win a USGA title is just the greatest feeling in the world."

The margin of victory was the largest in the 37-year history of the championship. The WAPL went to the 36-hole championship-match format back in 2002.

The 18-year-old Diaz-Yi jumped out to a quick start Saturday morning, winning the par-3 second hole with a par. She built a 4-up lead after nine against the 20-year-old Chen, who is coming off an All-American season with the USC women's golf team. At the conclusion of the first 18 holes, Diaz-Yi was 6-up, losing just one hole after failing to get up and down for par.

"I told my caddie that all I wanted to do was hit the fairway and greens," said Diaz-Yi when asked if she had a strategy. "The pins were very tricky and tucked in places that were absolutely impossible, and the wind didn't help make anything easier. Par was definitely the goal for every hole."

Diaz-Yi, an incoming freshman at the University of Virginia, was playing in her first USGA championship final. She was a quarterfinalist at the 2012 U.S. Girls' Junior at Lake Merced GC in Daly City, Calif.

Diaz-Yi continues a recent run of strong play by Southern California golfers at the WAPL, following Brianna Do's win in 2011 and Tiffany Joh's two wins in both 2006 and 2008. It was announced earlier this year by the USGA that the event will be discontinued after its 2014 edition.

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