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Golf: Shin pips Ko to Australian Women's Open title

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

South Korea's world number eight Shin Ji-Yai won the Women's Australian Open Sunday, ending two strokes clear of Taiwan's top-ranked Tseng Yani and four ahead of teen star Lydia Ko at 18-under.

Shin took an early lead in the fourth and final round at the Royal Canberra Golf Club, expected to be a shot-for-shot contest with New Zealand amateur Ko, 15, who was chasing an historic second US LPGA win.

But her day got off to a terrible start with a double bogey on the first hole and a bogey on the second, allowing Shin to slip to a three-shot advantage with a birdie.

Ko fought back to level play with Shin, notching three birdies, but faded in the back stages to finish 14-under, also allowing world number one Tseng to charge into second place with six birdies and an eagle putting her at 16-under.

Shin, 24, held her nerve to finish at 72 for a total of 274 and take home Aus$180,000 in prize money -- her third victory in seven LPGA tour starts and 11th career win.

Having turned professional in January 2005, Shin is the first South Korean woman to win the Australian season-opener in its 21-year history.

Ko, a Kiwi born in South Korea, became the tour's youngest winner at last year's Canadian Women's Open, smashing US star Lexi Thompson's record by winning at the age of just 15 years, four months and two days.

Thompson was 16 years and eight months when she won the 2011 Navistar Classic, and had Ko won on Sunday she would have been the only player to win twice on the LPGA Tour before her 16th birthday, which is in April.

Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn came in fourth at 13-under alongside Spain's Beatriz Recari, also at 13-under.

ajc/mtp

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130217/golf-shin-pips-ko-australian-womens-open-title