Shin simply too good at British Open
BY Bruce Young | Ladies European Tour | 2012 Ricoh Womens British Open | Wrap | 17 Sep 2012
During the course of the week at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club only six scores in the 60’s, all of those in round two, were recorded.
That stat alone makes Ji Yai Shin’s second round of 64 all the more staggering and highlight’s the catalyst it provided in her stunning nine shot victory over Inbee Park in the final major championship of the year.
In blustery, damp conditions, Shin took a five shot lead into the final day during which 36 holes lay ahead of the game’s best. The abandonment of round two on Friday would mean tournament organisers were forced to play the final 36 on Sunday and after the morning’s third round was complete, Shin still led but by only three over Karrie Webb.
Back out into the demanding conditions for the final round in the afternoon and when Shin triple bogeyed the first hole the lead had been reduced to just two.
Unfortunately for Webb she had been unable to take advantage of a Shin’s opening hole disaster when she double bogeyed the first. Webb would go on to bogey the 2nd, 3rd and 6th holes and Shin’s lead was five.
When the leader birdied the 6th and 7th holes the contest was all but over and, as Webb fell away, Inbee Park and Paula Creamer stormed home late in their rounds to finish second and third respectively.
Mika Miyazato was 4th with Webb sharing 5th with So Yeon Ryu.
Shin’s victory was the largest winning margin in the history of the Ricoh Women’s British Open. The largest winning margin in a major goes to Louise Suggs who won by a massive 14 shots when successful at the 1949 US Women’s Open.
“I’m happy to finish today because I didn’t want to play until Monday,” Shin said. “But today I played 36 holes, but finally done today. And then it was a really, really tough and long day, because I played 36 holes with rain and wind, so really hard to keep focused. But it was work today. So I feel a little tired now."
So how does this victory compare with her first at the British Open four years ago? "Actually that’s really hard, because when I won at the Sunningdale, it changed a lot of my life.
“This week, this win, I think it change, make another new change for me, because especially this year, last year and this year, I take a lot of tough time mentally and physically was really tough time the last couple years.”
Shin underwent surgery earlier this year for a hand injury and after nearly six weeks off only returned to tournament play in July. Her victory last week in Virginia and now this has the former world number one back on track to perhaps reclaim that position especially given the struggles of the incumbent Yani Tseng.
Tseng, the defending champion, could only manage 26th position this week, her final round of 79 including a triple and quintuple bogey.
Lyndsey Wright finished as the next best of the Australians after Webb when she tied for 17th with 15 year old New Zealander Lydia Ko.
Ko will be disappointed with her final round of 78 but that was a score not as bad as it may appear on paper on the final day. Ko can look back on the last six weeks with great pride. She was the leading amateur at the US Women’s Open, she won the US Amateur Championship, she became the youngest golfer to win an LPGA Tour event when she won the Canadian Open two weeks ago and today she became the winner of the Smyth Salver for low amateur at this week’s event.
Ko was asked after the event what her plans are now.
“I want to graduate high school first back in New Zealand and I want to play amateur for a couple of years. And you can only turn pro when you’re 18, anyways. I’m not trying to go there so quickly and I think there’s so much to do as an amateur. Hopefully when I turn pro, I’ll be able to play on the LPGA.
“I got leading amateur and that’s what I wanted after yesterday, so yeah, I guess I have to be happy about that, and this is my first experience at the British Open and I did much better than the U.S. Open. So yeah, I can’t say it was a bad day, and yeah, I had lots of fun playing.”
Katherine Hull was 33rd, Sarah Jane Smith 43rd, and Stephanie Na 47th.
The LPGA Tour heads back to the US and to Alabama for this week’s Navistar Classic.