Jiyai Shin, the 20-year-old Korean considered by many as a world number one in waiting, won the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore shooting her second successive six-under-par 66 to claim the trophy by two shots from Australia's Katherine Hull.
The current world number five, 2008 British Open champion and leader of Korea's golden generation known as the "Dragon Ladies" came from six shots behind at the start of the final day to clinch her fourth official LPGA title and her first since officially becoming a member of the tour with a winning score of 11 under par 277 at the Tanah Merah Country Club.
"I thought I had a chance of finishing in the top 10, not to win. I was very surprised to start with four birdies," said Shin, who only last month lost her treasured record of never having missed a cut as a professional, but now stands alongside the names of recent HSBC Champions winners Phil Mickelson, Lorena Ochoa and Sergio Garcia.
The girl known in her homeland as the "Final Round Queen" because of her resilience in Sunday play left her veteran Australian caddie Deane Herden shaking his head in disbelief at the way she played over the weekend.
"Unbelievable and she still left a few putts out there too! 12 under is phenomenal stuff. I think she missed two greens over the two days and no bogies. Say no more!" said Herden, whose CV includes a brief stint on Jack Nicklaus' bag.
"The ball striking was phenomenal. It was pretty flawless. The start we had, birdying the first four holes, was ridiculous. We had the confidence and momentum from there. Coming from behind and having to have to do it - to come from where we were after two days - is the best I've ever seen from her," added Herden, who caddied for Shin last year as she became the first player ever to complete the single-season Grand Slam of Korean Majors.
"I am awestruck. Just for the mental side of it. She's as cool as a cucumber. It's almost like she has the perfect head for golf, she's just so calm and collected," he said.
Hull, the world number 20 and arguably one of the most improved players over the past six months, was left regretting pulling out the big stick on the 13th hole where she carded a double bogey and surrendered her two-shot overnight lead.
"I made a really bad choice. I actually broke my game plan so I got what I deserved. I decided from the start I'd hit three wood off that tee, I took driver and it was the wrong play. I got too greedy and was over confident," said Hull, who won the ANZ Masters in her native Queensland in February.
"Hopefully it'll make me stronger and make me work harder. I'm disappointed I didn't win, but Jiyai played great; all credit to her. It's an awesome weekend to go 12 under. The better player won."
Hull, who also got into the trees on 18 to finally see her winning chance slip away, carded a two-over-par 74 to finish alone in second place. A shot behind her were world number Paula Creamer, 2007 LPGA Rookie of the Year Angela Park and world number six Angela Stanford.
"The ferocity of that battle highlights the quality of Lorena Ochoa's 11-shot win last year," said Giles Morgan, HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship.
"Once again we've crowned a truly great champion. The world's local bank has known for some time that experts in Korea have been predicting that Jiyai will become the best player in the world and will have a Hall of Fame career. She still has a long way to go to achieve that, but she's taken an important step towards it," he added.
Topics: HSBC Women's Champions