With a final-round 68 and a birdie on the 72nd hole, Japan’s Hinako Shibuno won the AIG Women’s British Open on Sunday. Here’s how things played out during a riveting final round at Woburn:
Leaderboard: Shibuno (-18), Lizette Salas (-17), Jin Young Ko (-16), Morgan Pressel (-15), Ashleigh Buhai (-14)
What it means: This is Shibuno’s third worldwide win this year, following a pair of victories on the JLPGA. This week was the 20-year-old’s first professional start outside of Japan. Prior to her arrival, she assumed Woburn was a links. Known as the “Smiling Cinderella,” Shibuno saw her two-shot, 54-hole lead quickly disappear when she four-putted the third hole for double bogey. She fought back with birdies at Nos. 5 and 7, and a bogey at 8 saw her make the turn in 1 over. Then, just as she has all week, she lit the back nine on fire with a bogey-free, 5-under 31. Her clinching birdie putt on the 72nd hole had so much pace on it that it may have made the hole a little bigger. Had it missed, she would have had a lot of work coming back just to tie Salas and force a playoff. Instead, it dropped. It was fitting end for a champion who played Woburn’s back nine in 18 under this week, the same total as her winning score.
Best of the rest: Salas’ Sunday 65 tied for the round of the week. She made eight birdies and a single bogey. Following a gorgeous approach to the final green, her birdie bid to push herself to 18 under par lipped out. Minutes later, with Salas waiting out a potential playoff, Shibuno did what Salas didn’t; she birdied 18.
Honorable mention: Jin Young Ko’s bid for back-to-back majors and three in a single season came up two-shots short. The Rolex No. 1 fired a bogey-free round of 6-under 66 Sunday. Now finished, her major 2019 campaign looked like this: 1st, T-16, T-14, 1st, 3rd.
Captain’s pick? Two days after Solheim Cup captain Juli Inkster told Golf Channel’s Randall Mell that Pressel was on her radar, Pressel finished off her best major finish in four years, a solo fourth. In the mix all day, she carded four birdies and an eagle before dropping her only shot of the day at the last for a closing 67.
Shot of the day: Shibuno’s racing birdie putt at the 72nd hole: