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Shin, Randhawa bask in Asian wins

SOUTH Korea's Shin Ji-yai birdied her first four holes yesterday to set up her fourth LPGA Tour victory at the US$2 million HSBC Women's Champions.

Shin, who took home a US$300,000 winner's check, shot a final round 66 to finish the tournament at 11-under 277, two shots ahead of Australia's Katherine Hull (74) at the Tanah Merah Country Club course in Singapore.

Shin lived up to her nickname "Final Round Queen," a moniker she said her fans gave her after regularly coming from behind to win.

The victory was 20-year-old Shin's first as a LPGA member. She won three LPGA Tour events earlier as a member of the Korean and Japanese LPGAs.

"I'm very surprised and very happy," said Shin, who also had a 66 on Saturday to thrust herself into contention after a moderate opening two rounds. "I can't believe I birdied the first four holes."

Hull led going into the final day by two shots, and two birdies on the front nine put her four strokes ahead at the turn. Her title hopes began to evaporate when she bogeyed the 10th, then on the 13th she shanked her tee shot into the crowd en route to a double bogey, dropping her into a share of the lead.

"I made a really bad choice on 13," Hull said. "I broke my game-plan so I got what I deserved."

The Australian bogeyed 14 but still remained in contention coming to the last. However, Shin - playing a group ahead - sank a pressure putt for par after leaving her first putt well short of the cup. Meanwhile, Hull had strayed right into the rough off the tee, needed to take a drop and was in no position to attack the pin.

Brazil's Angela Park (68) and Americans Paula Creamer (70) and Angela Stanford (73) were tied for third, three shots back.

Defending champion and world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa (70) of Mexico finished four shots back at seven-under, along with American Jane Park (73) and Sun Young-yoo (73) of South Korea.

In Phuket, India's Jyoti Randhawa cruised to a comfortable two-stroke victory at the Singha Thailand Open for his eighth Asian Tour victory yesterday.

The 36-year-old Randhawa produced a flawless five-under 65 to hold off Rhys Davies of Wales, who equaled his best performance on Tour with a closing 67 at Laguna Phuket Golf Club for second place.

Chinese Taipei's Lu Wei-chih settled for third, three behind the winner, after a 65 while S.S.P. Chowrasia of India was tied fourth alongside upcoming Chinese talent Wu Ashun after rounds of 69 and 66, respectively.

"I'm feeling great. I played marvellous golf the last two days. To shoot five-under without any bogeys was good, I'm very happy," said Randhawa, whose winning total of 17-under-par 263 earned him a check for US$79,250.


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