Former world number one Jiyai Shin managed to hold her nerve during a dramatic final round to win the Women’s Australian Open by two shots.
The final round of the Women’s Australian Open at Royal Canberra began with South Korean Shin and 15-year-old amateur star Lydia Ko holding a share of the lead, but the margin was soon three shots when Shin made an early birdie and Ko dropping three shots in her opening two holes.
At this point, most global broadcasts dropped the Women’s Australian Open feed in favour of the more lucrative but much more boring European Tour event, the action at Royal Canberra was compelling viewing as Yani Tseng then got into the mix.
The dropped shots from Ko was a surprise to most golf fans, but the fast finish from world number one Tseng was fascinating to watch as few people gave her any chance of winning as the day began.
Eight shots behind the leaders when play began, Tseng made bogey on the opening hole but then rattled off six birdies and an eagle to gain a share of the lead at one point in the back nine.
Ko managed to steady after dropping three shots in her opening two holes to also claw back into a share of the lead with Tseng and Shin at the 12th hole.
It was at this point Shin made a remarkable shot that effectively won her the trophy.
On the long par-4 14th hole, Shin produced a poor approach shot to find her ball in thick rough. Nestled close to a sponsors sign, Shin opted not to take a drop and hit a lob wedge into the hole for birdie.
“The ball was sitting pretty good, so if I dropped it, I’m not sure the ball would be sitting that good,” Shin 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 opened her victory speech with a “G’day mate” and professes a love for the country where she keeps coming back to play.
“I finally won in Australia. I love meat pies and watching kangaroos, I’m so happy,” Shin said after her victory.
Ko is destined for big things and showed she can more than match it with the more experienced professionals. There will be plenty of talk about when exactly she will turn pro, but for the moment, Ko seems pleased to finish so well in such a prestigious event.
“Obviously there are points and aspects where I do need to learn. Like, to me, today I think I realised that you know, after a bad hole it kind of carried onto the next hole. Like you can see, Jiyai Shin didn’t really matter what she had on one hole, the next hole it was pretty fresh.” Ko said.
“So those are the kind of aspects I learnt. You know, I played with some big names out there this week, I was very privileged to play with them.”