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Former world No. 1 prefers Japan Tour over LPGA

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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Jiyai Shin is enjoying her return to the LPGA this week, but the former Rolex world No. 1 says she’s more comfortable now playing the Japan LPGA Tour to be nearer to her family in South Korea.

Shin, 25, said there were other factors in her decision to give up LPGA membership before the start of this season. She said the combination of injuries, as well as the travel and grind of her international schedule, was breaking down more than her body.

“I was losing my passion,” Shin said. “I felt like I needed a new goal. I wanted to find my passion again.”

Shin, an 11-time LPGA winner, reigned as the world No. 1 for 25 weeks over the 2010 and ’11 seasons. She suffered through wrist and back injuries in ’11 and ’12. She underwent surgery on her left wrist in May of ’12, with a surgeon taking a portion of bone out of the base of her left hand. She came back and won the Kingsmill Invitational and the Ricoh Women's British Open three months after surgery.

After opening with a 69 and 73 at Kraft, Shin entered the weekend at Mission Hills tied for 11th. She qualified for Kraft as winner of that Ricoh Women’s British Open two years ago.

“I loved playing the LPGA, and I’m happy to be back,” Shin said. “A lot of players are saying they miss me and my caddie, and it feels good to hear that."