Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)


Jiyai Shin Wins 4th Title

March 07, 2009

Although it was her fourth title in eight months, it was Shin's first as a member of the LPGA Tour.

SINGAPORE (AP) -- South Korean star Jiyai Shin won the HSBC Women's Champions on Sunday for her fourth LPGA Tour title in eight months, shooting her second straight 6-under 66 for a two-stroke victory over Australia's Katherine Hull.

The 20-year-old Shin, five strokes behind Hull at the start of the round and four back with nine holes to play, had an 11-under 277 total at Tanah Merah and earned $300,000 for her first victory as a member of the LPGA Tour.

"I'm very surprised and very happy," said Shin, the Women's British Open winner last August at Sunningdale. "I'm thinking, I had chance for top 10, not for win."

Called the "Final-Round Queen" in South Korea, Shin birdied the first four holes -- opening with 9- and 12-foot putts, chipping in from 45 feet on No. 3 and adding a 15-footer -- to put herself in position to take advantage of Hull's back-nine meltdown.

"I think she feels more pressure," Shin said. "She start as the leader and I start tied for sixth. ... She starts leader and she looks at the score, she gets more, I think, big pressure."

Hull finished with a 74. She bogeyed the 10th, dropped two more strokes after driving well left into a flower bed on the par-5 13th, then bogeyed the par-3 14th to fall a stroke behind.

"I made a really bad choice on 13," said Hull, the Australian Ladies Masters winner last month. "I broke my game plan, so I got what I deserved, I guess, and learnt the hard way. It will make me stronger, I think, and hopefully work harder."

On 13, she ended up with an unplayable lie in the flower bed, used a 7-wood to chip out, hit a wedge to 25 feet and two-putted for a 7.

"I decided at the start of the week to hit 3-wood of that tee and I did hit driver the other day with the wind," Hull said. "I figured there was enough wind today, but I made the wrong choice. I should have hit the 3-wood, but I was too greedy and over confident and that's unfortunately golf. I can't blame anyone but myself."

Hull's bogey on the par-4 10th and Shin's birdie on the par-3 11th -- a 6-iron to 9 feet -- cut the Australian's advantage to two strokes. Hull gave that away with the double bogey on 13, and fell behind on 14. Shin pushed her advantage to two strokes with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 15th, and closed with three pars.

"I am disappointed that I didn't win, but Jiyai played well today," Hull said. "Well deserved, so full credit to her."

Shin had 12 birdies in her bogey-free 66s after opening with rounds of 72 and 73.

"Nothing changed. Just changed the score," Shin said. "I just make birdie. I think yesterday and today I am no bogeys, so that makes it more easy to make low score. First round, second round, yeah, make birdie, but too much mistakes."

Last year, Shin, ranked fifth in the world, followed her major win at Sunningdale with late-season LPGA Tour victories in the Mizuno Classic and ADT Championship. She also won seven times on the Korea LPGA and once on the Japanese tour.

"This year, my first goal is to win rookie of the year," Shin said. "So, I think, this tournament, I moved more closer little bit. Then I want to defend my titles."

Hull, the former Pepperdine star who won the Canadian Women's Open last summer for her lone LPGA Tour title, birdied 17 and closed with a bogey.

The tall Australian lost her temper with her caddie, angered in part that he didn't stop her from hitting driver on 13.

"I was a bit frustrated that he didn't pull me off it, but ultimately that's my fault," Hull said. "I had to take it out and someone and unfortunately he got it."

Angela Park (68), Paula Creamer (70) and SBS Open winner Angela Stanford (73) tied for third at 8 under.

"I was right in the hunt," said Creamer, also third last week in Thailand. "But Jiyai really played awesome."

Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa, the 2008 champion coming off her 25th LPGA Tour victory last week in Thailand, shot a 70 to tie for sixth at 7 under.

"I didn't make as many putts as I made last year," Ochoa said. "On the greens, I couldn't get the speed right."

Jane Park (73) and Sun Young Yoo (73) also finished 7 under.