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Phoebe Yao at the International Crown

The LPGA's brand new tournament, The International Crown, is teeing off soon as this is written. It's a cool concept, and it's great to see the LPGA experimenting with different formats. The International Crown has a field of eight, 4-person teams, each team representing a country. In fact, each team consists of the four highest-ranked players for each country in the world rankings.

Almost all the golfers in the field are well-known, but not all of them. One of the lesser-known - at least to Western audiences - is Phoebe Yao of Taiwan.

Yao (whose given name is "Hsuan-Yu," but who goes by Phoebe - maybe she grew up watching Friends?) comes into the International Crown ranked No. 105 in the most recent Rolex Rankings. And she's an accomplished player who's won on the Japan LPGA, probably the third-best women's tour in the world (behind the LPGA and Korean LPGA tours).

In April, Yao won the JLPGA's Fujisankei Ladies Classic at the age of 21 and by five strokes. That victory moved her into the JLPGA's Top 10 on the money list, although she's since fallen back. Yao has also won the Taiwan LPGA.

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