HOYLAKE, England – Jiyai Shin has good vibes. They could carry her to a second Ricoh Women’s British Open victory.
Shin holds a five-shot lead over Inbee Park heading into the final 36 holes after a an 8-under-par 64 at Royal Liverpool, her lowest round in a major. It also sets a new women’s course record for the Hoylake links, breaking the previous record by three shots.
Shin was flawless in her second round. She began with an eagle at her first hole, the par-5, 10th, and that set the tone for the day. She birdied the next three holes, and then added another at the 16th hole to be out in 6-under 31. Birdies at the fourth and seventh holes on her back nine completed the round.
“My goal was to be 1 under par every day,” Shin said. “So 64 was unbelievable because this golf course is very tough. It was a bogey-free day and a bunker-free day, and I missed just the one fairway.”
Shin won the 2008 British Open at Sunningdale. It was a momentous occasion in her life. Before that she had played solely on the Korean LPGA. That win changed her world.
“This tournament is very special to me,” Shin said. “When I won it in 2008 it changed my life. Before that I had only played on the KLPGA. I would watch the LPGA on TV and think maybe that was the next level. Then I won this and I thought I could play at that level too. It gave me confidence.”
It also gave her an LPGA Tour card and Shin hasn’t looked back. She added the Mizuno Classic and season ending ADT Championship that year, becoming the first non-LPGA member to win three events in one season.
The 32-year-old now holds eight LPGA career victories. The most recent came last week when she defeated Paula Creamer in a nine-hole playoff to win the Kingsmill Championship.
Shin finished third in the Canadian Women’s Open the week before. So not only is she playing in her favorite tournament, but she came into in fine form. That form might just carry her to a second major victory.
Aside from Park, Shin will be looking over her shoulder at Japan’s Mika Miyazato and Karrie Webb of Australia. They are tied for third place on 3 under. Sweden’s Carin Koch is the top European. The four-time Solheim Cup player is tied for sixth place at 1 under.
Amateur Lydia Ko remains in contention. She is tied with Koch at 1 under. The 15-year-old New Zealander, the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, returned a 1-under 71 despite bogeying her first two holes.
The precocious teenager fought back with birdies at the fourth and fifth holes to play the front nine in level-par 35, and then posted a 1-under 36 on the back to ensure she was just one of nine players under par.
“After making two bogeys I knew I had another 16 holes to play, so it wasn’t too bad,” Ko said. While she wouldn’t go so far as predicting another professional victory to add to the Canadian Women’s Open and New South Wales Open she has already won this year, she’s determined not to leave Hoylake empty handed.
“I want to be the leading amateur. To get the medal would be very nice. I already have one from the U.S. Women’s Open.”
Ko finished 39th in the U.S. Women’s Open. She looks like going a few places better than that here, but she has some company. Curtis Cup players Holly Clyburn and Bronte Law also made the cut. Clyburn is leading the chasing amateur pack on 1 over, while Law is 2 over. Fellow Curtis Cup player Charley Hull missed the cut after a second round of 80.
Michelle Wie showed a return to form with a 2-under 70 to make just her eighth cut of the season from 17 events. Wie is 1 over for the two rounds, 10 shots off Shin’s lead.