ROCHESTER, N.Y.(AP) Jiyai Shin dedicates each one of her golf victories – make that five in 11 months – to her mother.
The 21-year-old South Korean star, whose mother was killed in a car crash in 2004, shot a 1-under 71 on Sunday to win the Wegmans LPGA by seven strokes with a 17-under 271. It was the biggest margin of victory at the tricky, tree-lined Locust Hill course since Patty Sheehan beat Nancy Lopez by nine strokes in 1992.
“I have my mother’s picture in my course book,” Shin said proudly after picking up a $300,000 prize that vaulted her to the top of the money list above Cristie Kerr, In-Kyung Kim and Lorena Ochoa with $1 million.
Kristy McPherson and Yani Tseng each shot a 66, the day’s best score, to surge into a second-place tie at 10 under. One behind were Japan’s Mika Miyazato (71) and rookies Haeji Kang (71) of South Korea and Stacy Lewis (74), the former NCAA champion from Arkansas.
First-round leader Sandra Gal (74) of Germany bogeyed the last hole to drop into a four-way tie for seventh place at 8 under with Kerr (69), Meaghan Francella (70) and Sun Young Yoo (73).
“I have a lot of tournaments” left to play this year and “maybe I try more wins,” Shin said. “Still, my goal is rookie of the year.”
Shin lengthened her lead over Michelle Wie in the rookie of the year standings to 405 points. She also jumped from fourth to first in the Rolex Player of the Year rankings with 90 points, nine ahead of Kerr.
Shin carried a four-stroke lead into the final round in the Rochester suburb of Pittsford. She never looked in danger of being caught, even when she picked up two straight bogeys near the close as a downpour produced a flurry of errors.
The $2 million tournament drew 18 of the season’s top 20 money winners. Ochoa, the world’s top-ranked player, and Suzann Pettersen, the runner-up here last June, were among the absentees.
A multiple winner on the Korean tour, Shin became the first non-LPGA member to win three events when she reeled in the Women’s British Open last August. She followed with late-season wins in the Mizuno Classic and ADT Championship and, in March, captured the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore for her first victory as a tour member.
Shin rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 1, saved par from 20 feet on No. 6 but picked up her first of three bogeys on the next hole when her 7-foot putt curled left at the cup. She made amends from the same distance for a birdie on the par-5 No. 8.
Morgan Pressel closed the gap to four strokes with an 8-foot birdie putt before the turn, but Shin’s lead swelled to six when she birdied No. 10 from 12 feet.
Shin faltered with bogeys on No. 13 – where Pressel’s prospects vanished with a triple bogey – and on No. 14, where she missed a 4-foot putt. But she birdied from 9 feet on No. 17.
Lewis, who tied for third at the U.S. Women’s Open last summer, reached 13 under at No. 13 but slumped with four bogeys on the last six holes.
“I played well this week but right now it’s pretty tough to take,” Lewis said.
Tiger Woods’ niece, Cheyenne Woods, made her professional golf debut but missed the cut by four strokes. Play was delayed for three hours Thursday and nearly five hours Friday. After a sunny interlude Saturday, rain fell steadily over the last three hours of play.