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Shin Outshines Ko in Women's Australian Open
Though neither player did particularly well Sunday, South Korea's Jiyai Shin outperformed teenage sensation Lydia Ko to win the 72-hole Women's Australian Open. The LPGA Tour's season opener took place at Royal Canberra Golf Club.
Shin closed with a 1-under 72, while Ko, a 15-year-old amateur from New Zealand who already has three victories in pro tournaments, posted a 3-over 76.
Shin totaled 18-under 274 for her 11th LPGA title. Ko ended up in third at 14-under 278 as No. 1-ranked Yani Tseng fired a 7-under 66 to sneak into second at 16-under.
The three were actually tied for the lead midway through the final round, with Tseng making up an eight-shot deficit entering the final round. But on the par-4 14th, Shin holed out a lob wedge from the rough for a birdie and then birdied the par-5 15th to give her a cushion she sustained to the end.
Shin said later her shot at 14 was one of the best of her life. "The ball was sitting pretty good, so if I dropped it, I'm not sure the ball would be sitting that good," she said. "Before I chipped it in, my play was a little bit tough, but after I chipped it in finally I get more relaxed and enjoyed the other few holes."
Ko, who started Sunday tied for a six-shot lead with Shin, got off to a rugged double-bogey-bogey start. She settled down with two birdies to make the turn in 1-over 38, but continued to struggle on the home half with three bogeys and a birdie.
Ko was proud of what she accomplished despite where she ended up. "Third at a professional tournament is a pretty good result and I can't say I'm not fully pleased," she said. "I was disappointed with how I played today. I think it was just a couple of drives and one putt in the game, but overall I had my career-low (score) on Thursday so I think it was a pretty good week."
Tseng - who won three times in early 2012 but played average golf the rest of last season - also got off to an inauspicious beginning Sunday with a bogey on the first hole. But from that point on the 24-year-old played as well as she has in a year, carding six birdies and an eagle on the par-5 sixth.
"After the first hole I wasn't happy to make bogey," Tseng said. "But that bogey I think give me a pump a little bit, that's why I think I made three birdies in a row. Tough fight, top 10, I'm pretty happy."
Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn (69) and Spain's Beatriz Recari (71) shared fourth at 279, while another stroke back were France's Gwladys Nocera and Spain's Carlota Ciganda, who both shot 70s.
Queenslander Katherine Hull-Kirk (69) was the highest-finishing Australian at 11-under 281, while four-time champion Karrie Webb ended up in 36th at 287.
Stacy Lewis (72) was the highest-finishing American, sharing 15th at 8-under 284. Defending champion Jessica Korda of Florida rallied with a 4-under 69 Sunday to rise into a tie for 18th at 285 with nine other players, including fellow Yanks Jennifer Song, Brittany Lincicome, Gerina Piller and Stacy Prammanasudh.
For all the scores, visit http://www.lpgascoring.com/public/Leaderboard.