Japan’s Hinako Shibuno claims thrilling Women’s British Open victory

There was one exciting, unexpected finish to the Women’s British Open which saw 20-year-old Hinako Shibuno sink a birdie on the last hole to claim victory.

Japana’s Hinako Shibuno was playing her first tournament outside of Japan and few expected her to be in contention on Sunday let alone go on and win.

Going into the final round, Shibuno held a two-stroke lead but by the time she arrived at the 18th hole at Woburn Golf Club in England, she was tied for the lead with American Lizette Salas.

Ron Sirak has the best of a bunch of great stories on the fiarytale finish at LPGA.com describing the unexpected ending as Sibuno rolled in a birdie putt on the last to claim a one-stroke victory.

As she walked toward the green, Shibuno smiled and waved at the appreciative gallery. She then drained the 18-foot putt for the win, her hand going to her mouth in disbelief, once again breaking into a broad smile and playful, almost embarrassed laugh, one of the reasons her nickname in her homeland is Smiling Cinderella.

The only other Japanese player to win a major championship on the LPGA or the PGA Tour is Chako Higuchi, who took the 1977 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

“Arigato gozimas,” Shibuno said behind the championship trophy, thanking the media in Japanese before saying through an interpreter: “I can’t really describe in words what I’m feeling.” Then, with yet another smile and a laugh added: “I’m also hungry.”

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