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Shin Ji-yai to Play in LPGA U.S. Open

Posted June. 27, 2007 03:12,   


The voice on the other end of the line was more bubbly than usual. She must have been exhausted after her long plane ride and jet lag, but she was full of anticipation about getting to join the world’s greatest stage. ‘She’ is the Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA)’s strongest player, Shin Ji-yai (19, Hi-Mart).

Last week Shin set a new major record of three consecutive wins in national competitions and will participate in the Women’s U.S. Open, the third major women’s golf tournament of the season to be held at the Southern Pines Country Club (Par 71) in North Carolina starting from June 28. This tournament, with its long history dating back to 1946, is one that every woman golfer dreams of participating in, and Shin won an invitation thanks to her eligibility as last year’s national top prize money winner.

Shin, who arrived at Southern Pines Airport 17 hours after departing from Incheon Airport on June 25, got in a Lexus LS460 that is provided for all players participating in the tournament, drove to the competition location and completed her player registration. On June 26, she played a practice round and concentrated on exploring the course. “It’s slightly long, being a par 71 course with a total length of over 6,600 yards. The rough is just enough for my shoe to sink in, so it’s not longer than the Nabisco Tournament in March, but the greens are faster and there are a lot of fortress-like greens so iron shots and putting will be important.” Shin revealed that she envied the atmosphere of the tournament, where spectators crowd to watch even the practice rounds, volunteers are in perfect order, and the practice range provides full ball services: sights that are hard to find in national competitions.

Shin said that, “Being worried about my English, I constantly used my MP3 player to study English conversation on the plane.” She met with other Korean players such as Lee Ji-young (Hi-Mart) and Kim In-kyung, who is the same age as Shin, and she received congratulations for her three straight wins.

Shin Ji-yai said, “My goal is to play better than I did at the season’s first major tournament, the Nabisco Championship (where she finished tied for 15th). I’m confident because my shots are feeling good.”