Shin shines in Hoylake gloom to take second title


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The Independent Online

South Korea's Jiyai Shin was in a league of her own last night as she claimed her second Ricoh Women's British Open title in five years on a landmark day for golf.

For the first time in the sport's history, Asian players have won all four of the women's majors in one season, and that makes it a remarkable seven in a row for them. Shin's nine-stroke victory after a marathon 36-hole final day at wet and windy Hoylake means she joins compatriots Yoo Sun-young and Choi Na-yeon and China's Shanshan Feng as this season's champions. Their dominance is in stark contrast to the men's game where, in 423 majors played since the first Open in 1860, Korean YE Yang, who beat Tiger Woods at the USPGA three years ago, has been the only Asian winner.

Shin went into the day five clear after a stunning second-round 64 – the lowest score of the week by four – and won the £266,143 first prize with battling rounds of 71 and 73. The 24-year-old finished on a nine-under-par total of 279 to record her second victory in seven days.

Last Monday, she beat the American Paula Creamer after a nine-hole play-off in Virginia. The impressive wins followed two months off this summer after surgery to remove a broken bone in her left hand.

Compatriot Inbee Park was runner-up and Creamer third after playing the last four holes in four under.

It was not quite as easy as it sounds, however, for Shin. During the morning, she had her advantage trimmed to one shot after 10 holes, but birdied the next three.

The Atlanta-based golfer then started her final round with a triple-bogey seven as the weather worsened, but remained in control. Birdie putts of 22 and 18 feet at the sixth and seventh widened the gap to seven and the only issue at that point appeared to be whether she would have to come back today to finish the job off.

A torrential downpour as Shin reached the turn left her with a broken umbrella, but after a replacement was found play was suspended because balls were moving on another green due to a gale. The hold-up was for less than 10 minutes as the gale passed, however, and on the resumption Shin never looked in the remotest danger of tossing it away.