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LPGA golfer Shin chooses to relax around year`s end

Posted December. 17, 2010 11:18,   


Golfer Shin Ji-yai used to be busy around the end of every year but not this year.

She says she is pretty free, and for those who feel that something is amiss, it is not. The 22-year-old Shin arrived in Korea Saturday after playing in the LPGA of the U.S.

The award ceremonies where she used to go are unrelated to her this year. “I went to award ceremonies every year since I won my first championship as a pro when I was an 11th grader. This is the first time in seven years that I didn’t go anywhere. I like it because I don’t have to worry about what to wear, haha,” she said.

Unlike last year when she claimed both the Rookie of the Year and money leader awards, she failed to win a tournament this year. With her steady play in the U.S., Japan and Korea, however, she led world’s women’s golf in money with 2.9 billion won (2.5 million dollars) this season.

When asked to sum up this year in one word, she said “heaviness” after thinking a bit. “I’m not saying I’m down and weary. I got an assignment to grow in a bright and good way. I`m not happy that I didn’t win a title, but I’m satisfied that I competed to the end even when I was sick often after an appendectomy,” she said.

After returning home, Shin went a two-day trip to Jeongdongjin in Gangwon Province by train with her sister, a student at Seoul National University. “It was the first time to go on a trip with my sister. Since we haven’t seen each other for a long time, it was good spending time with her,” she said.

Saying the trip with her sister was her best moment this year, Shin said she cannot forget winning the Evian Masters and KLPGA Championship. “I was the first Korean to win the Evian trophy and was surprised to see a sky diver with the Korean national flag coming down from the sky. At the KLPGA Championship, I managed to reach the top amid pouring rain and was congratulated by spectators,” she said.

Shin said she improved her bunker shots this year. In sand save, a percentage of scoring under par even in a bunker hole, she jumped from 27th (44.6 percent) to second (61.4 percent).

“When the ball falls in a bunker, I used to put more weight intentionally on the right side to float the ball, but after I changed the weight to the left, the ball slid out of the bunker smoothly. I got more aggressive in targeting pins as I fear bunkers less,” she said.

Shin also underwent corrective eye surgery at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul Thursday after buying a house in Palm Springs, California, last week. “I had problems in putting because of astigmatism but I’ll get better. I changed my training grounds to a warmer place. I’m looking for a new swing coach,” she said.

Though Shin is spending the month of December more relaxed than usual, her mind is already on next season.