One of the best shots of South Korean star Jiyai Shin’s life delivered her an eleventh LPGA win at the Women’s Australian Open golf tournament in Canberra.
Shin completed the four-round tournament at Royal Canberra in 18-under 274 on Sudnay, two shots clear of world No.1 Yani Tseng and four shots ahead of New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko (278).
Former world No.1 Shin was hot out of the gates, birdieing the par-5 first hole as her overnight co-leader Ko double-bogeyed.
A bogey on the second hole by 15-year-old Ko then delivered Shin a sizeable four-stroke advantage. But Ko fought back, birdieing consecutive holes while Shin slipped a shot with a bogey on the fifth after running into bunker trouble.
Shin then dropped another stroke on the 12th to fall equal with Ko and a blistering Tseng soon made up her eight-stroke overnight deficit to momentarily make it a three-way tie.
Under pressure and in the rough next to a sign to the left of the 14th green, Shin then lob-wedged in for a birdie to reclaim the outright lead in what she said was one of the best shots of her life.
"The ball was sitting pretty good, so if I dropped it, I’m not sure the ball would be sitting that good," she said.
"Before I chipped it in, my play was a little bit tough, but after I chipped it in finally I get more relaxed and enjoyed the other few holes."
Shin followed the chip-in with another birdie on the next hole to all but seize the championship.
It wasn’t the fairytale many where hoping it would be for Ko, who hit two bogeys after Shin’s chip shot to fall from joint-leader to four shots off the pace.
"Third at a professional tournament is a pretty good result and I can’t say I’m not fully pleased," Ko said.
"I was disappointed with how I played today ... I think it was just a couple of drives and one putt in the game, but overall I had my career-low (score) on Thursday so I think it was a pretty good week."
Ko said her round of three-over on Sunday might have been due to tiredness. "But you know, I’ve got another tournament next week and if I really want to go on tour I’ll be playing three or four weeks in a row so those are the kind of things I will need to build up," she said.
Tseng was eight shots off the leaders overnight and a bogey on the first hole of the day just about put her winning aspirations to bed.
But the Taiwanese golfer turned in some blistering form, dropping five strokes in the next four holes that included an eagle on the par-5 6th to turn in a round of the day 66.
"After the first hole I wasn’t happy to make bogey," she said. "But that bogey I think give me a pump a little bit, that’s why I think I made three birdies in a row ... Tough fight, top 10, I’m pretty happy."
Queenslander Katherine Hull-Kirk was the best of the Australians, finishing equal 8th on 281, while four-time champion Karrie Webb (287) finished equal 36th.