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30 Nov - 3 Dec, 2023

01 Dec 2023 | Australian Open |

Women's wrap: A major flavour at the Open

by Martin Blake

Jiyai Shin AO image
Jiyai Shin on her way to a 68 at The Australian today. Photo: Mogie Adamchik

The ISPS HANDA Australian Open for women suddenly has a major championship feel about it.

Relentless Jiyai Shin has the halfway lead after she plotted her way around The Australian today in 4-under 68.

At 9-under overall, the South Korean superstar and former world No. 1, is two shots ahead of the field heading back to The Australian for the weekend.

But she’ll play in the last group with South Africa’s major-winner Ashleigh Buhai (70 today at The Lakes).

Another Korean, LPGA-based Jenny Shin, is next at 6-under in an international-flavoured event.

The Australian hopes were held on Thursday by 16-year-old amateur Rachel Lee, but the teenager faltered slightly at The Australian today and her 79 saw her tumble outside the top 15.

It’s still an outstanding couple of days from the Avondale Golf Club product, who is working through the Golf NSW High Performance programs and studying year 10.

The top Australian entering the weekend is 19-year-old Queensland amateur Justice Bosio, a Karrie Webb Scholarship holder whose 4-under at The Lakes and 4-under overall put her into outright fourth, five shots from the lead.

Two other growing amateurs – SA’s Caitlin Peirce and 16-year-old Queenslander Sarah Hammett – are a further shot back at 3-under and inside the top 10 overall in what has been a week that shows off Australia’s emerging talent.

But the big prize is about to go on the line and it’s set up for a stellar weekend.

Shin has two majors and more than 60 worldwide victories, including the Australian Open in 2013, to show for her preeminence.

She’s an all-time great of the game, and she loves playing in Australia where her penchant for meat pie-chomping has been picked up by the crowds.

When she finished today, she headed off for another. “I miss (Australia) so much, that’s why I (am) really enjoying, and even when I miss putt, I just keep smiling because I’m still happy being here.

"You know what, especially on hole No. 9, before when I refer about the putting, is close to the clubhouse and then I can smell the meat pie!”

Buhai won the AIG Women’s Open in Muirfield last year and then came down to Australia – her second home, as it happens – and won the Australian Open for the first time.

“Yeah, very nice finish, especially the back nine to turn one over and stay patient and make four birdies on the back nine, I’m really happy with that,” said Buhai.

Australia’s top-ranked player, world No. 5 Minjee Lee, has not had her best in Sydney this week and her 3-over 75 at The Australian today left her well back at even-par, in a tie for 12th.

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