Hinako Shibuno Debut Win
Last week saw the final of the 5 majors of the year take place and it was back at Woburn Golf Club. 3 years after the course made its debut in 2016, they added 300 yards to the course length.
After Georgia Hall took home the title in 2018 and the tournament hosted at Charley Hull’s home club, there was undisputed pressure on them to perform. Another name to watch was Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, a 20-year-old professional who was well known on the Japanese tour but competing in her first ever major.
3 days in and the leaderboard was mixed with Shibuno at –14, Buhai at -12 and brits Bronte Law & Charley Hull at –7, leaving it all to play for going into Sunday. The question that was on everyone’s lips was ‘Could Hinako Shibuno really win her first ever major in her first ever tournament outside of Japan?’
Known as the smiling Cinderella, Shibuno looked at home on the golf course with her infectious attitude by waving to the crowd and high fiving spectators. With Buhai struggling and the brits falling behind her only competitor was American Lizette Salas who went out in 32. Shibuno got off to a slow start with a double bogey on the third hole and went out in 37 however, the back nine had been kind to her all week (–18 over the four days) she still had a fighting chance.
Salas approached the 18th at –17 and had a birdie putt on the last to force what would seem a play-off which she frustratingly missed. Shibuno with all eyes on her hit 2 great shots to 20ft giving her a chance for birdie and the outright win. With the flag out, she hit the putt straight at the heart of the hole which bounced off the back and went in. The 20-year-old rookie from Japan had just won the Women’s British Open on her first attempt, not only that but the nation had fallen in love with her bubbly personality and the way she went about playing with a smile always not too far away.
Shibuno also had her coach as her caddie all week who was able to make her laugh but also keep her calm when the clutch shots were needed. As well as this, her manager Hiroshi Shigematsu did things his own way by following his client around in a different fancy dress each day to try and raise spirits and make her laugh. It was all of this together which led to her name being known and everyone falling in love with the 20-year-old!
Hinako Shibuno, a name to watch for sure!!!