Las Vegas resident Jenny Shin may not get to practice much at Shadow Creek, but her play at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards isn’t showing it. Shin has defeated two major champions thus far on days one and two of group play. Wednesday saw her beat 2020 AIG Women’s Open winner Sophia Popov, 2 and 1. On Thursday, she doubled down, defeating 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winner Hannah Green, 5 and 3. Green and Shin carded matching pars on the first three holes and Shin then went 2 up with a birdie on the fourth and a par on the fifth. She won again with a bogey on No. 8 that got her 3 up with 10 to play, and after Green eagled No. 9 to win her only hole of the day, Shin won holes 10 and 11, eventually closing out the match with a par on the 15th.
“It was really windy today so I think the main focus was to get up and down as much as possible when I don't get it on the green,” said Shin, who leads her group with two points. “The greens are extremely firm so starting yesterday I didn't have too many birdies inside 20 feet, and today any time I had a chance inside 20 feet I tried my best, and I think on the fourth hole or the third hole, the par 5, I made my birdie. After that, the wind really picked up. Hannah was struggling a little bit in the middle of the front nine, and that helped me get up pretty quickly.”
Shin currently leads her pod by a full point and is set to take on fellow Korean Haeji Kang for her final round-robin match on Friday. While she’s locked in on the challenge in front of her, Shin can’t help but think of last year when she was knocked out in the Round of 16 by Eun-Hee Ji after 19 holes, and she hopes to avenge that loss tomorrow by making it to the weekend and seeing what she’s made of on those 36-hole days.
“I'm going to still try to make my putts, hit the fairway if I can,” said Shin of her gameplan for day three. “The course is drying up really quickly so I'm not quite sure how far my driver is going to go tomorrow. It's been going like 320 yards, so I think it's trying to stay a little bit more conservative and not be too greedy and sink those par putts. I would love to get to the weekend because last year I got to the (Round of 16) and I lost to Eun-Hee Ji, so it would be a good feeling to make it to the weekend and try playing 36 holes in this 105-degree heat.”