If the 10th ranked player in the world could sneak in under the radar in a major championship, mission accomplished for Ji-Yai Shin at the RICOH Women's British Open. Her -6, 66 today gave her a comfortable 3 shot win over Ya-Ni Tseng, who also closed with a 66. The rather bookish looking Shin, (it's the glasses), drove it straight, hit greens, and made putts. Six birdies and no bogeys in the final round of a major is almost always the recipe for victory. She was the picture of control, even as she got up and down from an 18th hole greenside bunker to seal the inevitable. Truth be told, she'd taken the starch out of her pursuers with a tremendous 45 ft. birdie putt on the 13th. That putt provided the final cushion.
Tseng's 66 launched her to solo 2nd. That, coupled with her earlier victory in the McDonald's LPGA Championship, should have sealed "rookie of the year" honors for her. Yuri Fudoh, who had entered the round with a one shot advantage shot 71 to finish T3 with Eun Hee Ji, 67. Ai Miayazato's final round 70 gave her solo 5th. A costly double bogey on 18 cost her some serious cash. Cristie Kerr finished 6th with a final round 70. Lorena Ochoa ended up T7 with a 69, tied with Momoko Ueda. Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Karrie Webb, In-Kyung Kim, and Hee-Won Han all shared 9th place. The Japanese players made a great showing with 3 in the top 10. Four Korean players were in the top 10, 2 Americans, and Tseng, from Taiwan, rounded out the international flavor. In a post round interview Shin indicated she'd planned to play in Japan next year, but this win qualifies her for the LPGA and she may rethink her plans. If so, watch out, she's a very steady, accomplished player and I've no doubt she be near the top in any statistical category. Congratulations to Ji-Yai on her break out victory.
In great fashion Annika Sorenstam made a 10 ft. birdie putt on the 18th hole to finish, at least for now, her major career. Her final round 68 gave her a tie for 24th. I do have an Average Golfer observation though, regarding Annika. Why do her sponsors this year insist on providing her with golf attire that makes her look like a fast food clerk? Am I the only one?
Coming tomorrow, PGA Championship Preview.