Women's British Open: Hinako Shibuno wins with closing birdie

Hinako Shibuno celebrates a shock major win
Hinako Shibuno celebrates a shock major win

Hinako Shibuno made her major debut a winning one with a dramatic victory in the Women's British Open.

Day four report

Hinako Shibuno made her major debut a winning one with a dramatic victory in the Women's British Open.

The Japanese youngster birdied the final hole at Woburn to beat Lizette Salas by a single stroke, after the American had seen her own birdie attempt lip out in the group ahead.

Sensing the opportunity, Shibuno fired an approach to 15 feet and rolled the putt into the centre of the hole to win on her first start outside of Japan.

Shibuno told Sky Sports Golf through an interpreter: "I'm nervous now that I've won and I still feel like I'm going to vomit!

"I was more nervous on the front nine but on the back nine I was OK and I was able to make a lot of birdies as well."

Asked about her winning putt on the 18th, Shibuno added: "I hit the putt a little too strong. I felt like I was going to cry but the tears didn't come out.

"Obviously contending at a tournament like this is nerve-wracking, but I also felt that I was going to enjoy this moment as well.

"There were many Japanese spectators out there, and I heard many Japanese words too, so I felt like I was playing in Japan. Thank you!"

Having taken a two-shot lead into the final round, a fairytale win for the played nicknamed 'the Smiling Princess' took an early blow with a four-putt double-bogey at the third hole.

But Shibuno responded, again taking apart the back-nine as she had done all week to complete a shock victory.

It was hard on Salas, the daughter of Mexican immigrants for whom success would have been particularly poignant, but she instead settles for her best ever major performance in second place.

Salas burst through the pack to lay down the most significant challenge, and a brilliant approach to the last looked to have completed the job only for a five-foot birdie putt to cruelly stay above ground.

World number one Jin Young Ko, who was seeking a third major title of the year, had to settle for third place following a 66, with Morgan Pressel fourth following a bogey at the final hole.

English duo Charley Hull and Bronte Law had both started the final round in contention but faded early on, finishing 24th and 35th respectively.

Day three report

Hinako Shibuno takes a two-shot lead into the final round of the Women's British Open at Woburn.

The Japanese star carded a five-under 67 to move to 14 under, sneaking ahead of South Africa's Ashleigh Buhai.

Buhai had led by three shots after the second round, but her level-par 72 saw her slip off the pace.

South Korea's Park Sung-hyun sits three shots back heading into Sunday's final round.

England's Bronte Law and Charley Hull are tied for seventh at nine under, but defending champion Georgia Hall fell out of the reckoning with a two-over 74.

Hall's overall score of four under leaves her 10 shots shy of leader Shibuno.

Day two report

Bronte Law produced a five-under-par 67 on Friday but lies five shots off the lead at the halfway stage of the Women's British Open at Woburn.

Britain's top-ranked player fired five birdies to join the large group containing fellow Englishwoman Charley Hull in a tie for fourth on seven under.

But the home duo were left trailing in the wake of leader Ashleigh Buhai, who followed up her first-round 65 with a blemish-free 67 to move to 12 under.

Three bogeys around the turn hindered Hull's progress but the 23-year-old made amends with back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th to card a two-under 70.

"I would have taken seven under before the tournament but I'm a bit frustrated as I was eight under halfway through the round, " she told BBC Sport.

"I said to myself 'I'm hitting it well, why can't I make a couple of birdies coming in?' And I did, so I'm happy with that."

Law, hoping to make her Solheim Cup debut at Gleneagles next month, must have impressed her playing partner, European captain Catriona Matthew.

The 24-year-old told Sky Sports Golf: "It's kind of like when you're younger at school and you're put in front of the teacher at the front so they can keep an eye on you.

"It felt a little bit like that but I just kept my focus out there, and with it being a major the goal is to play well.

"It's not so much that I'm worried about the Solheim because I have a job to do here this week."

Defending champion Georgia Hall lies a shot further back on six under after a three-under 69.

Day one report

England's Charley Hull made the most of her local knowledge as she finished the opening day of the Women's British Open at Woburn just two shots behind leader Ashleigh Buhai.

Hull, playing at her home club, made a fine start in her bid for a first major title as she recorded five birdies - including three in succession from the 10th - in a blemish-free 67.

That left the 23-year-old in a group of four players on five under, one shot behind American Danielle Kang and Hinako Shibuno of Japan and two adrift of South African pacesetter Buhai.

Hull said on www.lpga.com: "It went really good, I really enjoyed it out there.

"Sometimes it's harder when it's your home golf course because you know places where not to hit it as well as where to hit it. Like today, for instance, the 13th hole, that's the first time I've hit that fairway in probably about three years, so I was quite happy about that."

Asked if she was feeling any extra pressure playing on home turf, Kettering-born Hull, who missed the cut at Royal Lytham last year, added: "I was a little but I'm not now.

"I'm just trying to think in my head 'just go out there and have fun'. I've no expectations, just go out there, have fun, and that's my main goal this week."

Buhai picked up eight birdies during her seven-under round of 65, with her only dropped shop coming on the par-five 11th. The 30-year-old has yet to win a title on the LPGA tour since joining in 2008.

Hull's compatriot Georgia Hall, the reigning champion here following her maiden major triumph last year, enjoyed a steady start to her title defence with a three-under-par 69.

Two-time major winner Park Sung-hyun is alongside Hull on five under, while world number one Ko Jin-young, looking for a third major win of 2019, bounced back from a double-bogey five on the 14th to record a 68.

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