South Korea's Jiyai Shin drives off the fourth tee at the Women’s British Open golf championships at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, England, Sunday Sept. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
HOYLAKE, England (AP) — Jiyai Shin avoided mistakes in miserable weather conditions Sunday to cruise to a record nine-stroke victory in the Women's British Open.
In the 36-hole finish Sunday in the wind-delayed tournament, Shin took a three-shot lead into the final round after shooting a 1-under 71 in the morning. She stayed calm while strong wind and heavy showers sent scores soaring at Royal Liverpool in the afternoon, closing with a 73 to finish at 9-under 279.
"It was a long, very, very tough day out there," Shin said. "But I kept my focus and concentrated on every shot, and when I made the winning putt, it was great.
The 24-year-old South Korean player won the major championship for the second time in five years and also won for the second time in seven days on the LPGA Tour. Last Monday morning in Virginia, she finished off Paula Creamer on the ninth hole of a playoff in the Kingsmill Championship.
"When I won at Sunningdale, it was a totally different kind of course, but I finally think I've got the right tempo with my swing for links golf," Shin said.
The 10-time LPGA Tour winner entered the day with a five-stroke lead after shooting a 64 — the lowest competitive round ever at Hoylake — on Saturday. She broke the record for margin of victory of five set by Karen Stupples in 2004 at Sunningdale.
"My goal was 1-under par every single day. So my goal was 4 under. I think it was enough score," Shin said. "So, I'm really surprised even from yesterday and then also today, I hit even par with 36 holes with this weather, so I'm really surprised and inspired by myself. Because really tough course here, so when I finished it today, I'm just like, 'Wow, I can play good score any, any other course, I'm pretty sure of that."
Shin completed an Asian sweep of the four majors. South Korea's Sun Young Yoo won the Kraft Nabisco, China's Shanshan Feng took the LPGA Championship, and South Korea's Na Yeon Choi won the U.S. Women's Open. Asian players have won nine of the last 12 majors.
Shin missed the LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open after having surgery on her left wrist.
"I think so many Asia players are playing at the moment on the LPGA Tour, so it makes a lot of chance to win," Shin said. "Especially, I don't know I don't know how can I say, I didn't play last two major tournaments, but I played in Nabisco and here. Well, I work so hard, I guess that's why I get this trophy, but, I don't know, I know all the other players doing their best and they work hard, too. So it makes it just happen."
Shin is 2-for-2 working with new caddie Florian Rodriguez.
"I'm happy with my new work with my new caddie because he make me feel relaxed," Shin said. "Actually, he's one year younger than me, but he like tried to be relaxed on the golf course and I really appreciate my caddie."
South Korea's Inbee Park was second, shooting 72-76.
Creamer shot 72-72 to finish third at 1 over.
"I feel very close," said Creamer, winless since 2010. "I hit the ball great. I cannot take away from my ball striking. That was definitely not the issue. It was my putting for sure. And a little bit speed related in some aspects, I'm going to take a couple weeks off and try and refresh. But I have to continue moving forward with everything that I'm doing because like I said, I feel really good about where I'm at. It's just a couple things here and there."
Japan's Mika Miyazato was fourth at 2 over after rounds of 72 and 77. Australia's Karrie Webb, a three-time winner in the event, pulled within three shots with a 68 in the morning, but finished with an 82 to tie for fifth with South Korea's Se Yeon Ryu — 12 shots back. Ryu shot 71-76.
Play was abandoned Friday because of high wind, forcing the 36-hole finale Sunday. Play was suspended for a few minutes during the fourth round as the rain and wind pelted the course, but organizers decided to play on.
"It was like we were standing under a shower," Creamer said. "That's the best way I can describe it. It was hard, my goodness gracious. I've always said Solheim in Sweden was one of the toughest conditions I've ever played in. I think this tops that, for sure."
Shin opened her final round with a triple bogey, but she came back with birdies at the sixth and seventh before dropping another stroke at the eighth. She picked up three more birdies on the way along with two bogeys, staying in control of her game while Webb faded.
Park struggled in the final round and reached the turn at 4 over, then dropped two more strokes on the back nine before making birdies on the 16th and 18th to take finish second.
Creamer and American teenager Lexi Thompson were the only two players to shoot par in the afternoon, although Thompson was already out of contention and finished in a tie for 17th. She shot 76-72.
Lydia Ko, the 15-year-old amateur coming off a victory three weeks ago in the Canadian Women's Open, also tied for 17th at 9 over — shooting 76-78.
"I got leading amateur and that's what I wanted after yesterday," Ko said. "I guess I have to be happy about that, and this is my first experience at the British Open and I did much better than the U.S. Open. So, I can't say it was a bad day. I had lots of fun playing."
The South Korean-born New Zealander, the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history, won the New South Wales Open in Australia in January and took the U.S. Women's Amateur last month.
Yani Tseng, the 2010 and 2011 winner, shot 76-79 to tie for 26th at 11 over.
The event is sponsored by Ricoh.