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Shin wins as Ko falls short
Last updated: 17th February 2013
Jiyai Shin outdueled Lydia Ko and held off a surging world number Yani Tseng to capture the Australian Women's Open at Royal Canberra Golf Club.
Shin stamped her authority on the championship when she hit a perfectly executed lob wedge chip shot into the 14th hole from thick rough.
The 24-year-old South Korean had stood on the 14th tee tied with the 15-year-old Ko at 16 under par, but Ko took bogey after finding a fairway bunker and after Shin birdied the 15th, it was effectively over for Ko, the winner of the previous week's New Zealand Open, who finished in third place as the leading amateur.
Tseng fired the low round of the day, a 66, to shoot up to second position. She was still in the hunt coming down the 18th, but needing an eagle she hit her second shot into the trees left of the green and took a par.
Shin, who is once again a force in women's golf after recovering from hand surgery last year, said the pressure that mounted over Sunday's highlight made her lob wedge shot one of the best shots of her career.
"Well I think today this chip shot is much - make the important of this tournament because before when I chip it in, my play wasn't bad," said Shin. "But after chipped it in I get more in the legs and then more enjoy the other few holes. So it was great up and down for me."
The 2012 Women's British Open champion said she could've taken relief but she preferred the lie she already had near the wooden fence fixture.
"Yes, from the ball to the hole around the 15 yard and then I hit a low wedge, 60 degree wedges and I hit a little bit high shot and then it was land perfectly," said Shin. "Then the actual lie, the green lie was straight, so I just keep focus, hit it straight (laughs) because the fence is really close to the ball flight, so I just - I'm thinking, just keep headed down."
While most fans focused on Shin and Lydia Ko, the world number one player in the world, Tseng, started the day eight shots back and chipped away at the lead playing three groups in front of final pair. Tseng used a bogey on number one as motivation and got things going with three-consecutive birdies to follow.
"After first hole I wasn't happy to make bogey there," said Tseng. "I think I was a little nervous, but I don't know, but that bogey I think give me pump a little bit. That's why I think I make three birdies in a row, I think because of that bogey."
Tseng eagled No. 6 to get her to 13-under and made the turn four strokes off the lead. It wasn't until the middle of her back nine when she thought she might have a shot at catching Shin.
"On the back 9, I think about like 12, 13 hole because I know I was pretty close but after I look next hole I made birdie, it was like, you never see Jiyia make bogey," said Tseng. "I think she only made a couple of bogey today, but I feel like on the back you still have two more par 5s, so I feel like still a good chance to make birdie and to make eagle to get close. But I was pretty happy about it today. I'm going to try my best and the last three holes really got me pumped up little bit, because I really want to make birdie to get close."
Tseng would go on to get three more birdies on the back nine on Nos. 13, 15 and 16 to cut the lead to two. It came down to the final hole, the par 5 18th to have any chance of catching Shin who still had three holes to play.
"I know, I feel like I want to make eagle because I mean I've been hitting my 17 pretty good all day, but on that one I just, I probably tried to killed it and it was pulling to the left," said Tseng. "But I still got a pretty good lie for the third shot. I mean, I just make that shot too complicated. It should be pretty simple really. I kind of played that tree and played, but those trees should be very easy and I just hit it too hard for my third shot, otherwise could be a good birdie there."
After a brilliant putting performance in her first round, Ko thinks her work on the greens still needs improvement. She had 21 putts on Thursday during her 10-under 63 in comparison to her 33 during her final round.
"I always think putting is the biggest part of the game and also the psychology part," said Ko. "So those are the two things I would like to build up. I've got a couple of years until I turn pro so I guess within that period hopefully I'll be able to get a little bit better."
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