Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club
Shima-shi, Mie, Japan
Final-round notes and interviews
November 7, 2010
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jiyai Shin fired a final-round five-under 67 to win the Mizuno Classic Sunday. The victory was Shin’s second at the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club and eighth on the LPGA Tour. Shin carded five birdies and no bogeys in the final round to take home the first-place prize of $180,000. Rolex Rankings No. 6 Yani Tseng finished second, two behind Shin. Stacy Lewis, who was looking for her first LPGA victory, finished solo third.
Shin reclaimed the No. 1 position atop the Rolex Rankings Monday and she made a strong case this week to stay there. The win is Shin’s second of the season and her eighth since July of 2008. In addition to the two victories, Shin has also posted 12 top-6 finishes in 2010. She also inched closer to the top of the LPGA money list, a position she lost last week when Na Yeon Choi won the LPGA Hana Bank Championship Presented by SK telecom. Shin currently sits second only $3,535 behind Choi.
1 Na Yeon Choi $1,783,303
2 Jiyai Shin $1,779,768
3 Yani Tseng $1,545,746
4 Cristie Kerr $1,455,237
5 Suzann Pettersen $1,419,166
Final-Round Queen strikes again. Shin proved again Sunday why she is the Final-round Queen. She has a final-round stroke average of 67.25 in the eight events she has won on the LPGA Tour. Shin fought off the hard-charging Tseng, who is quickly becoming known for her come-from-behind heroics. Tseng has come-from-behind in four of her five LPGA Tour wins. Tseng birdied six of the first 11 holes to pull into a tie with Shin, but failed to convert birdie putts on her last seven holes. After Tseng’s birdie on 11, Shin said, “I was really, really nervous and we still had more par-5’s. She (Tseng) is a long hitter. So I was worried about the long par-5’s where she can make the easy birdies.” Ironically, it was Shin’s birdie on the par-5 16th which gave her a two-shot lead with two holes to play.
Tseng, who has won three times on the LPGA Tour in 2010 including two major championships, had nothing but compliments for her competitor Shin. “I really tried my best to bring my A-game golf today,” Tseng said. “I think I did that very well. Jiyai just played so consistently and she is the greatest player on Tour, a very good, competitive player.”
Rolex watch. Yani Tseng increased her lead in the Rolex Player of the Year race with a solo second at the Mizuno Classic. She holds a 14-point advantage over Ai Miyazato. Na Yeon Choi and Jiyai Shin stand 18 points behind Tseng in a tie for third. Cristie Kerr is in fifth place, 22 points back.
1. Yani Tseng 188 points
2. Ai Miyazato 174
T3. Na Yeon Choi 170
T3. Jiyai Shin 170
5. Cristie Kerr 166
Rolex Rankings No. 5 Na Yeon Choi continues to play well. Choi made five birdies and one bogey en route to a final-round 68. Choi finished tied for fifth which earned her $41,275, enough to keep her at the top of the LPGA money list. Choi continues to also lead the race for the Vare Trophy, averaging 69.81 strokes per round. Kerr stands second in that contest with a stroke average of 69.81. Choi also leads the Tour in birdies and climbed into a tie for third in the Rolex Player of the Year race.
Streak of the week. The Mizuno Classic yielded loads of red numbers this week due to benign weather and perfect course conditions. After making the turn Sunday, Inbee Park went birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie. She fired a final-round 65 to jump from a tie for 28th to a tie for 8th. Park’s back-nine 30 tied a tournament record for low-nine score.
Good news from Arkansas. For the fifth straight year, the LPGA will be returning to Northwest Arkansas in 2011.The tournament will be newly named the “Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship Presented by Procter & Gamble”, reflecting the fact that Northwest Arkansas-based Walmart has now become the title and lead sponsor for the event with P&G becoming presenting sponsor. The event will be again held at Pinnacle Country Club, September 9-11. Yani Tseng launched a come-from-behind charge to win this year’s event by one stroke over Michelle Wie.
Of note. Defending champion Bo Bae Song shot a final-round 74 to finish tied for 56th… Former Mizuno Classic champions Karrie Webb (67), Maria Hjorth (68) and Momoko Ueda (71) all tied for 14th…Ai Miyazato bounced back from a second-round 79 with a third-round 68.
JIYAI SHIN, ROLEX RANKINGS NO. 1
Q: Congratulations, Jiyai Shin, the 2010 Mizuno Classic champion. Tell us how it feels and how you played today. You obviously played great.
SHIN: This morning my feel was a little bit rushed, because I won at the Evian and the last couple of months I didn’t win. I have had a lot of chances but I didn’t win. I am waiting all the time for the win. So this morning I felt pressure.
The first hole I made a birdie and after that I got more confident. But Yani was playing very well. On the 11th hole she made a birdie and we were tied. So I was really, really nervous and we still had more par-5’s and she is a long hitter. So I was worried about the long par-5’s where she can make the easy birdies. But she made a couple of mistakes and I made a really good birdie on 16. It feels good to win.
Q: You are not playing next week, but you are playing the LPGA Tour Championship. What is your goal for that week?
SHIN: Well I have a really good feeling. I am going to take it easy for the next couple of weeks and then head to LPGA Tour Championship. I want to play well there because the Tour Championship is the last tournament of the year. If I have good play there it will make a warm winter.
YANI TSENG, ROLEX RANKINGS NO. 6
Q: You played well today. You got to the top, but didn’t win. How are you feeling now?
TSENG: I really tried my best to bring my A-game golf today, and I think I did that very well. But I didn’t make any birdies on the last seven holes and I was kind of upset. I really did my best. Jiyai just played so consistently and she is the greatest player on Tour, a very good, competitive player.
Q: Well you have two remaining tournaments and you played well this week. Are you confident for the next two?
TSENG: Yes, absolutely. Yes, I feel very confident right now. Actually, on Thursday, I changed my swing a little bit and figured out something really good in my swing. I am looking forward to the next two tournaments.
Q: You told us previously that your goal is to improve your swing, your putts and your driver. You are actually in a good position to be on the top. How are you feeling now?
TSENG: Yeah, as I said, I feel very good. I still have a lot of things to work on. I am playing good but still not good enough to win the tournament.
Q: What did you change on Thursday?
TSENG: When I take it back, I shut my face a little bit. And I really tried to open it up. It feels very different to me.