In top form, Shin chases 2nd British Open title

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In top form, Shin chases 2nd British Open title

SOUTHPORT, England - South Korea’s Shin Ji-yai is pursuing another women’s British Open title at the top of her game.

Two years ago when she won at Sunningdale, Shin was barely known outside her own country. Now, fresh from winning the Evian Masters in France on Sunday, she is ranked No. 1 in the world as she gears up for Royal Birkdale on Thursday.

“I love links golf and it would be great to win this major again,” the 22-year-old Shin told reporters. “When I won at Sunningdale two years ago, it marked a really big change in my life. Up until then, getting to play on the LPGA Tour was just a dream.

“It gave me so much confidence and just made a huge difference in everything.”

Shin experienced links golf for the first time at last year’s British Open at Royal Lytham, finishing a credible eighth behind Scotland’s Catriona Matthew.

“I think I like this course better,” she said, referring to Royal Birkdale. “There are not so many blind shots. But I love links golf. You have to wear so many clothes and think of lots of different shots.”

Shin’s win in Evian was her first this season, and it came just six weeks after an emergency appendix operation.

“I felt ready to play about two weeks ago - Sunday proved I was ready to win again,” she said.

Paula Creamer, winner of the U.S. women’s Open three weeks ago, is also seeking a second major after a season of injury. The 23-year-old had a thumb operation at the start of the year and has still not fully recovered.

“Last week [in Evian] was difficult, and I wasn’t sure if I could practice on Monday,” Creamer said. “But it’s not too bad. When I was out injured, there was a black cloud hanging over me. After surgery you never know if you are going to be able to play again - never mind compete at the highest level.”

She added, “Winning [the U.S, Open] at Oakmont was such a breakthrough. I had come close to winning majors before, but now I know what it takes to actually do it. It has definitely lifted my expectations.”

Matthew, who won the title at Lytham 11 weeks after she gave birth to a second daughter, is also confident in her game entering the British Open.

“I’m feeling great and have looked forward to this week all year,” Matthew said. “I love the course, and my game is in pretty good shape.”

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