20-year-old Hinako Shibuno wins Women’s British Open in first major appearance

Yahoo Sports Contributor
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Japan’s Hinako Shibuno had never played outside of her home country before this week. Thanks to a clutch birdie on her final hole, the 20-year-old is now a major champion. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Japan’s Hinako Shibuno had never played outside of her home country before this week. Thanks to a clutch birdie on her final hole, the 20-year-old is now a major champion. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

When Hinako Shibuno first stepped onto Woburn Golf Club in England earlier this week, she had never played in a tournament outside of Japan.

The 20-year-old had never played in a major championship, either.

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But on Sunday, thanks to a huge 18-foot birdie on the final hole, Shibuno walked away from the Women’s British Open a winner.

Shibuno — or “Smiling Cinderella,” as she’s better known — posted a 4-under 68 on Sunday to pick up her first major championship win, though she got off to a rough start. Shibuno made a double bogey on her third hole and was 1-over for the day when she made the turn. Five birdies on the back side, however, put the Japanese star right back on track. She finished 18-under for the week.

"I still feel like I'm going to vomit," Shibuno said, via Sports Illustrated. "I was more nervous on the front nine but I was OK on the back nine. I felt like I was going to cry on the 18th but the tears didn't come out."

American Lizette Salas finished in second on Sunday, just one back from Shibuno, after posting a 7-under 65 for her best finish in a major. She shared the lead with Shibuno on the final hole, too, though came up just short.

“I told myself, ‘You got this. You’re made for this,’” Salas said after her best finish at a major, via the Associated Press. “I put a good stroke on it. I’m not going to lie, I was nervous. You know, I haven’t been in that position in a long time. Gave it a good stroke. I controlled all my thoughts. It just didn’t drop.”

World No. 1 Jin Young Ko, who won last week’s Evian Championship for her third win of the season, finished third at 16-under.

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