Hinako Shibuno secured the most memorable of victories at the Women’s British Open on Sunday, holding off the challenge of Lizette Salas to take the trophy on her major championship debut.
The 20-year-old, a rookie on the JLPGA Tour who has hypermobility in her left elbow joint, birdied the final hole with a putt that rattled round the cup before dropping to finish on 18 under par.
That was enough to edge out Salas by one shot despite the American carding a final-day-best seven-under-65 that also saw her birdie-putt lip out at the last.
Overnight leader Shibuno, also competing in her first event outside her native Japan, strode up the final fairway level on 17 under with Salas but clipped an approach to within 15 feet and then displayed remarkable nerve to power the ball into the hole.
That completed a 68 with her challenge reignited after the turn, Shibuno coming home in 31.
— AIG Women’s British Open (@AIGWBO) August 4, 2019
Ko Jin-young – already the winner of two majors this year – threatened a third with a blemish-free 66 that took her to 16 under while Morgan Pressel will also leave Woburn with pangs of regret after botching the final hole on her way to a 67 and a final score of 15 under.
Speaking to Sky Sports via an interpreter, Shibuno said: “I’m nervous even though I’ve won. I still feel like I’m going to vomit!
“I was nervous on the front nine, but on the back nine I was okay. I produced a lot of birdies.
“At the end I thought I was going to cry but the tears didn’t come out. Obviously contending at a tournament like this is nerve-wracking, but I also felt that I was going to enjoy this moment as well.”