World No.1 ready to shine on sandbelt

Women’s world No.1 golfer Ji yai Shin will make a sensational return to Melbourne’s sandbelt for the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open at Commonwealth Golf Club from February 3-6.

The 22-year-old Korean has already amassed 34 titles around the world and returns following her runner-up finish in a playoff with Karrie Webb at Kingston Heath in 2008.

Ji Yai Shin Ji Yai Shin

Joining Shin will be world No.5 and defending champion Yani Tseng, who won two of the four Majors – the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Women’s British Open – in 2010.

“I love Melbourne golf courses,” Shin said.

“In 2008 when we played Kingston Heath it was such a big event for me because it was the first time I had a good chance to win outside Asia and the crowds were huge. It was so much fun and good pressure playing against Karrie Webb in the playoff.”

“I feel like Australia is my second home because I have an Australian trainer, Australian coach, Australian caddy and Katherine Hull is a good friend of mine so I can now speak really good Aussie.

“I haven’t played Commonwealth before, but Yani (Tseng) tells me it’s a great course and in some places really tight which suits my game because I hit straight, so I am really looking forward to playing,” Shin added.

In 2010, Shin won the Evian Masters in France, the Mizuno Classic in Japan and the Korean LPGA Championship.

The ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open will be Shin’s only stop in Australia before commencing her LPGA Tour season in Thailand and Singapore.

Golf Australia’s Tournament Director Trevor Herden said he was thrilled to welcome the world No.1 back to Melbourne.

“We are delighted that Ji yai has added the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open to her demanding 2011 schedule to play at Commonwealth,” Herden said.

“Our championship continues to grow and in recent years has attracted a number of the world’s top 20 players. Having the world No.1 play will only build on that further. We have no doubt that both golf and sport fans will seize the opportunity to see the best female golfer in the world in action.”

In 2009 Shin was crowned LPGA Rolex Rookie of the Year, LPGA Tour Money List winner and the Golf Writers Association of America Female Player of the Year.

Shin will compete against a world class field including defending champion Tseng, Aussie stars Karrie Webb and Katherine Hull, crowd favourites Laura Davies and Christina Kim and rising star Alexis Thompson.

Tickets are available through Ticketek at www.ticketek.com.au or by calling 132 849.