ROCHESTER, N.Y. – South Korea’s Jiyai Shin picked up her fifth title in 11 months with a seven-stroke victory at the Wegmans LPGA on Sunday.
The 21-year-old star from Seoul shot a 1-under 71 to finish in a downpour at 17-under 271. Kristy McPherson and Yani Tseng each shot a 66, the day’s best score, to surge into a second-place tie at 10 under. One behind were Japan’s Mika Miyazato (71) and rookies Haeji Kang (71) of South Korea and Stacy Lewis (74), the former NCAA champion from Arkansas.
First-round leader Sandra Gal (74) of Germany bogeyed the last hole to drop into a four-way tie for seventh place at 8 under with Cristie Kerr (69), Meaghan Francella (70) and Sun Young Yoo (73).
“I have a lot of tournaments” left to play this year and “maybe I try more wins,” Shin said. “Still, my goal is rookie of the year.”
Shin dedicated her victory again to her mother, who was killed in an auto accident in 2004. “I have my mother’s picture in my course book,” she said.
Shin carried a four-stroke lead into the final round at tricky Locust Hill. She never looked in danger of being caught, even when she picked up two straight bogeys near the close as heavy rain produced a flurry of errors. She earned $300,000, vaulting her to the top of the money list above Kerr, In-Kyung Kim and Lorena Ochoa with $1 million.
The $2 million tournament drew 18 of the season’s top 20 money winners. Ochoa, the world’s top-ranked player, and Suzann Pettersen, the runner-up here last June, were among the absentees.
A multiple winner on the Korean tour, Shin became the first non-LPGA member to win three events when she reeled in the Women’s British Open last August. She followed with late-season wins in the Mizuno Classic and ADT Championship and, in March, captured the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore for her first victory as a tour member.
Shin rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 1, saved par from 20 feet on No. 6 but picked up her first of three bogeys on the next hole when her 7-foot putt curled left at the cup. She made amends from the same distance for a birdie on the par-5 eighth.
Morgan Pressel closed the gap to four strokes with an 8-foot birdie putt before the turn, but Shin’s lead swelled to six when she birdied No. 10.
Shin birdied from 9 feet on No. 17 to seal the biggest margin of victory here since Patty Sheehan beat Nancy Lopez by nine strokes in 1992.
Lewis, who tied for third at the U.S. Women’s Open last summer, reached 13 under at No. 13 but slumped with four bogeys on the last six holes.
Tiger Woods’ niece, Cheyenne Woods, made her professional golf debut but missed the cut by four strokes. Play was delayed for three hours on Thursday and nearly five hours Friday. After a sunny interlude Saturday, rain fell steadily over the last three hours of play.