Golf Canberra Classic Jiyai Shin wins as Minjee Lee stumbles


CANBERRA — South Korean star Jiyai Shin has stormed home to win the Canberra Classic by six shots as Australian No.1 Minjee Lee stumbled in the final round.

The former world No. 1 carded an eight-under-par closing round of 64 to win at 19-under 197 on Sunday, continuing her love affair with Royal Canberra after winning the Australian Open at the course in 2013.

It was Shin’s 50th professional career win and she declared herself a certain starter for the Women’s Australian Open, starting on Thursday.

“I’m so excited I can’t tell you. Royal Canberra is my favourite golf course in the world,” Shin said.

“This morning when I came to the driving range I felt pretty good and I was hitting it well … I love Australia so to get my 50th win in Australia gives it more meaning.”

Seeking back-to-back victories after triumphing at the Vic Open last weekend, Lee entered the last day with a three-shot lead thanks to a career-best nine-under 63 on Saturday.

But four bogeys on holes four to nine proved costly as the world No. 17 slid to a 73 and she held on to outright second place by just one shot from Dutchwoman Anne van Dam, who carded a 68.

Shin set up her victory charge with five birdies on the front nine on Sunday.

The two-time British Open champion finished ahead of Lee in second, who was one over in the final round, while Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg (12 under) was third and Holland’s Anne van Dam a further shot back.

Rebecca Artis and Sarah Kemp (four-under) were the next highest-placed Australians behind Lee, sharing 12th.

Lee will aim to bounce back quickly from Sunday’s disappointment for the Australian Open at Adelaide’s Kooyonga Golf Club, where four of the world’s top 10 are confirmed starters.

“I don’t think I hit it that well or putted that well and I had one over but it is what it is,” Lee said.

“I feel pretty prepared for next week and that was probably my goal for the last two weeks.”

Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn and So Yeon Ryu are making the trip to South Australia and all three held the world No. 1 ranking at stages during 2017.

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