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Shin wins P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship

Posted by on Sep 13th, 2009 and filed under Golf, Latest News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

LPGA Tour rookie player Jiyai Shin survived a two-hole, sudden-death playoff at the P&G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship Presented by John Q. Hammons to pick up her third official victory, and matched her win total from 2008 when she won three times as a non-member. The South Korean player also increased her lead in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings, as she now has a total of 1,269 points, 585 more than Michelle Wie.

When Shin arrived at Pinnacle Country Club at 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning for her final round, her goal was for a top-10 finish. Teeing off at 7:22 a.m. in the third group of the day, 10 groups ahead of the leaders, Shin has some waiting to do once she finished with her 9-under-par 204 (70-70-64) score. Approximately two and a half hours later, Shin returned to the driving range to warm-up again, once she learned that she would return to the course for a playoff.

“Well, usually my goal is top-10, because the last couple months my shots have been a little bit down,” said Shin. “So, my goal was top-10. But today my goal was to be 2-under-par, because I heard the rain coming and the windy day, so I want to just make under-par score. My shot was still good, and my putting was really, really good today.”

This week’s win did more than just surpass the 21-year-old’s goal of a top-10 finish. With the $270,000 that went to the winner, Shin jumped over Cristie Kerr in the LPGA Official Money List, and now has a total of $1,498,861 in season earnings. In addition to the LPGA Official Money List, Shin now holds the top-spot in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year and Rolex Player of the Year race. Should Shin win these two honors, it would be the first time a player claims both since Nancy Lopez did the trick in 1979.

“That would be huge,” Shin said when asked about winning both awards. “That would be a huge, a huge thing for me, because I’m a rookie this year, so I just focus on the rookie of the year. But now I have a chance for player of the year, too. So, I want to now focus to the whole thing. If I get both, I think I can’t live with myself; would be so exciting.”

The two players Shin had to keep an eye on for the most part were four-time LPGA Tour winner Angela Stanford (66-69-69=204, -9) and fourth-year LPGA Tour player Sun Young Yoo (69-67-68=204, -9). Stanford bogeyed and eagled her first two holes of the day, one and two, bogeyed eight, birdied 14 and bogeyed 15. Walking to the 18th green, Stanford new what had to be done, and she did it. From 25 feet away, she holed out for her 12th eagle of the year, and a spot in the three-person playoff.

“On 18, I knew I needed a good drive,” she said. “And I hadn’t been in the first cut over there yet this week. I had always been to the right. But it was kind of sitting up a little bit, so I asked my caddie. Then we watched. I thought if I can get it to the front right part of the green and give myself a chance, we’ll have a roll at it. We both saw the same spot we wanted to roll over.”

This is Stanford’s, a 2000 graduate of Texas Christian University, seventh runner-up finish of her nine-year career, and second of 2009. Just last week, Stanford also finished tied for runner-up honors at the CN Canadian Women’s Open. With the $143,065 check Stanford cashed this week, she crossed the million-dollar mark in season-earnings. She now was a grand total of $1,006,634, and is the sixth player in 2009 to cross the milestone.

Rounding out the sudden-death playoff was Yoo, who fell just short of notching her first career victory, but tied her career-best finish in the runner-up spot on the final leaderboard. The South Korean player now has three top-10 finishes to her credit this season, and along with this week’s runner-up, finished tied for seventh at the Wegmans LPGA event, and tied for sixth at the HSBC Women’s Champions event in Singapore.

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