Meet Hinako Shibuno: 10 things to know about the Women's British Open champion

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Meet Hinako Shibuno: 10 things to know about the Women's British Open champion

Women's British Open

Meet Hinako Shibuno: 10 things to know about the Women's British Open champion

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Dubbed the “Smiling Cinderella” by the media in her home country of Japan, 20-year-old Hinako Shibuno landed with grace and guts on the world golf stage with her victory in the 2019 Women’s British Open Sunday.

Shibuno quickly and effortlessly slid home a birdie putt on No. 18 to beat American Lizette Salas by one stroke at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes, England.

At 20 years, 8 months and 20 days, Shibuno won her first major and her first LPGA victory in her first try at a major.

WOMEN’S BRITISH OPEN: RecapResults, Money

Here are 10 things of note to know about the latest Women’s British Open winner:

10. Shibuno had never played professionally outside Japan

The Women’s British Open was Shibuno’s debut competitive event played outside her home country. She has two victories on the JLPGA tour.

9. Shibuno faces a tough choice

Shibuno is eligible for LPGA Tour Membership with the victory. She can accept immediate Membership, which would mean 2019 is her rookie season, or take Membership starting in 2020.

8. Shibuno nearly doubled her career earnings Sunday

Since turning pro, Shibuno had earned about $733,725. That included winnings from her victories in the World Ladies Championship Salon Pass Cup and Shiseido Anessa Lady’s Open earlier in 2019. She won $675,000 on Sunday.

7. Shibuno ended a 42-year Japanese drought in majors

The only other Japanese golfer – male or female – to win a major golf tournament was Chako Higuchi. Her major victory came in the 1977 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

6. Shibuno joins a very exclusive club

Shibuno is just the second player to win in her major debut in this decade. She joins Hyo Koo Kim, who won the 2014 Evian Championship.

5. Shibuno plays fast

In what may be the most-welcomed part of her championship, Shibuno does not waste time pondering shots or looming above her ball. She began quickly on Thursday and never let up her pace until she had the Women’s Open won.

4. Shibuno likes sweets

After her victory Sunday, Shibuno spoke through an interpreter and said she was both hungry and planned to celebrate her victory by “eating sweets.”

3. Shibuno dreamed of being ‘Ariel’ as a child

Like a millions of others who came of age in the past three decades, Shibuno once dreamed of becoming “Ariel” – as in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Her other option: become a Kamen Rider.

2. Shibuno’s parents were both athletes

Both her parents were track-and-field athletes. Her father, Satoru, was a discus thrower and her mother, Nobuko, threw the javelin.

1. Shibuno is an avid softball player

Earlier this year, Shibuno told the Golf Digest Online of Japan that she enjoys playing softball more than golf. She is a pitcher but learned to bat left-handed to avoid damaging her golf swing.

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