Jiyai Shin of South Korea was in a league of her own as she collected her second Ricoh Women’s British Open title in five years at Royal Liverpool.
The 24-year-old former world number one shot a final round of 73 in brutal conditions to finish as the sole competitor under par for the championship on a 279, nine under total.
She was nine strokes clear of fellow South Korean Inbee Park (72) with Paula Creamer of the United States a stroke further back in third after a wet and windy 36 holes at Hoylake.
With her victory, Shin completed the first Asian clean sweep of women’s major victories in one season.She joins fellow South Koreans Sun Young Yoo and Na Yeon Choi, winners of the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship and US Women’s Open respectively and Shanshan Feng of China, who won the LPGA Championship. South Korean Inbee Park also won the Evian Masters, which is only considered a major championship on the Ladies European Tour and becomes a major on the LPGA Tour in 2013.
Her margin of victory was the largest since the championship became a major in 2001, although before that, Ayako Okamoto won by 11 strokes in 1984.
Shin said the conditions were the toughest she had ever played in: “The weather was really tough but I just kept focused on each single shot. After I made the winner’s putt it felt like, oh my God, I was so excited.”
The world number 10 collected a first prize of £266,143 just seven days after winning the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia in a nine-hole play-off. This came after two months out from the game with surgery to remove a broken bone in her left hand earlier in the summer.
|Shin celebrates her win on the 18th green
Shin went into the final day five strokes clear of Park after opening with a 71 on Thursday and came back with a course record 64 in the second round on Saturday after Friday’s play was cancelled.
She began a marathon day of golf with a 71 in the third round on Sunday morning and started the final round three strokes clear of Australian Karrie Webb.
During the morning she had her lead cut to one shot after 10 holes, but she came back with three birdies in a row from the 11th.
In the final round, Shin started with a triple bogey on the first hole, but kept her lead after Webb dropped four shots in her first three holes.
Shin posted birdies on six and seven before dropping a shot on eight but was six clear of Webb and Mika Miyazato of Japan as she made the turn.
After a 10 minute weather delay due to balls moving on the fifth green, Shin dropped a shot but moved 11 shots clear of the field with birdies at 13, 15 and 16.
After a bogey on 17, she was 10 strokes clear with a hole to play until Park made birdie in near darkness on the 18th green.
“I think this course is made for me. My shots were great this week from last week so I had great confidence here and I have great memories of this tournament. Always when I come to the British Open I really enjoy myself and that helped my game today,” said Shin, who won the 2008 championship at Sunningdale.
“I was thinking that my shots were not good for a links course but finally I had a great tempo with my swing at the moment so finally I got to know it works on a links course too. When I won at Sunningdale it was a totally different type of course so, but Sunningdale was my favourite golf course, but also here, Royal Liverpool is my favourite golf course too.”
The 15-year-old South Korean-born New Zealand sensation Lydia Ko took the Smyth Salver as the leading amateur in a share of 17th position on nine over par, with England’s Holly Clyburn two shots back in a tied for 26th.
The 2009 champion Catriona Matthew was the best of the home players and she shot a final round 75 to end in a share of 10th place.