Evian MastersJuly 24, 2010

Back On Top

Jiyai Shin edged Morgan Pressel by a stroke to regain the top spot in the world ranking

The win for Shin was her seventh in two years.

The win for Shin was her seventh in two years.

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France -- For her first win of 2010, Jiyai Shin not only recaptured the No. 1 spot in the world ranking, but also the 17th Evian Masters crown and its $487,500 purse. The largest 18th hole crowds of the year on the LPGA Tour -- more than 10,000 people -- were more than ten deep along the fairway, perched on the hill, and overflowing the skyboxes around the green to see the drama unfold. Following Shin's victory two parachutists jumped from a helicopter with the Korean flag for her.

"My game plan was no mistakes today. I only had few birdies on the par 5's this week. I knew I needed birdie on 18," said Shin, who finished with a 67 for 274. "And I made the 9-footer thankfully. Since my emergency appendectomy six weeks ago, I am recovered and enjoy playing so much."

Shin's first birdie only came on the fourth, but she followed with another on the fifth. She nailed another on the long par-3 eighth for 33 on the first nine. Shin birdied the 13th getting into a share of the lead with Morgan Pressel. Game on.

Morgan Pressel remained atop the leader board until the 18th, when she missed her birdie putt to tie Shin. An eagle on the par-4, 333-yard fifth helped her stay in contention along with a birdie on the ninth to make the turn at 33. She closed with 70 to tie for second with Na Yeon Choi and Alexis Thompson.

Korea's Na Yeon Choi tied second with a sparkling 66 on 275. Choi, a great ball-striker with three LPGA victories, went after the win with five birdies for 34 on the back. Choi was joint leader with Pressel and Shin coming down the stretch.

Playing in just her third event as a pro, the 15-year-old Thompson started strong with birdies on the short par-3 second, then on the par-4 fifth. With her length, Thompson nailed birdies on the two par-5s for a sizzling 32 on the front. Knowing she had to birdie 18 for a chance at the win, Thompson's drive ended up in the rough, but she wasn't deterred.

"I had to make birdie the old-fashioned way," she said. "Stick my lob wedge close from 98 yards. Just inside ten feet, I made the putt." Then came the wait and watching on the 18th. Thompson smiled afterwards, "I made my goal of a top 10 here."

Third-ranked Suzann Pettersen of Norway teed off at six under and quickly rattled off five birdies on the front side for a 31. But only one birdie on the back left her at 12 under and in fifth place. A painful hip hasn't helped her the past weeks. "I had a chance," Pettersen said. "This is my best finish here." Pettersen is still chasing the No. 1 ranking, which she could have captured with a victory here.

Spain's Azahara Munoz, playing in her rookie season on the LPGA, shot 68 to finish T-11 and remain in close contention for the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. "I pay close attention to the Rolex Rankings," confirmed the ASU graduate. "But I don't know exactly how they are obtained."

The Rolex Rankings have taken on even more importance this year with the tight battle for No. 1 changing almost weekly, with six ladies being in contention since Lorena Ochoa stepped away from the game. Shin held the coveted spot for seven weeks, then Japan's Ai Miyazoto with her four wins in 2010 had the honor for a week, followed by Cristie Kerr, the first American to claim the top spot, for three weeks. Miyazoto returned to No. 1 July 19th but will relinquish the spot again on Monday to Shin.