CANBERRA, Australia — South Korea’s Jiyai Shin won the Australian Women’s Golf Open by two shots on Sunday, finishing with a 1-under 72 to break out of an overnight tie for the lead with teenage star Lydia Ko.
Shin mixed three birdies with two bogeys in a final round dogfight with Ko and world No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan, and added the Australian title to her two British Opens among 37 professional victories.
Ko’s share of the lead evaporated quickly on the final day with a double bogey, bogey start. However the 15-year-old amateur fought back to reclaim the joint lead after 13 holes before Shin calmly dismissed her challenge.
Shin effectively clinched her victory on the 14th hole when, tied with Ko at 16-under she holed an incredible pitch from deep rough behind an advertising hoarding to make birdie.
"I’m really surprised," Shin said. "There are so many good players here so I’m really happy to play well.
"I can’t explain at the moment. I just feel excited."
Ko finished 3-over for the day and 14-under for the tournament, in outright third place. The teenager was hunting back-to-back wins in professional tournaments after winning last week’s New Zealand Women’s Open.
Ko has won three professional tournaments in the last 13 months, taking out the New South Wales Open to become the youngest winner of a professional event, then winning the Canadian Open, to become the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour.
She struggled on Sunday to overcome her poor start and was never able to comfortably settle into her final round.
"I had a few struggles with my drives but…I can’t play good every single round," Ko said. "Third in a professional event is a pretty good results and I can’t say I’m not fully pleased."
Meanwhile, Tseng shot the best round of the last day – a 7-under 66 – to dash past Ko into outright second place, two shots behind Shin.
"I was always feeling good here and I tried my best today," Tseng said. "I got some pretty good lucky bounces too.
"I didn’t drive as well as the last few days but I got some good bounces, some good kicks on the fairway; hit a tree, bounced on the fairway so it’s kind of really lucky."