Hinako Shibuno, a rookie on the LPGA of Japan Tour, captured the Women’s British Open on Aug. 4, becoming just the second Japanese golfer to win an overseas major and the first in 42 years.
The 20-year-old shot a 68 in the final round of her first tournament outside of her homeland to finish at 18-under 270 and claim a one-stroke victory over American Lizette Salas.
“I’m so happy that I’m speechless,” Shibuno said at Woburn Golf Club near Milton Keynes. “I’m hungry, I feel nauseous. I think I did something great but it hasn’t sunk in yet.”
She joins Hisako Higuchi, winner of the 1977 LPGA Championship, as the only Japanese to win a major on either the PGA or LPGA tours — a feat that neither 17-time LPGA winner Ayako Okamoto nor former world No. 1 Ai Miyazato were able to accomplish.
“An unselfish victory down to the wire. I’m so happy I finally got to see a Japanese win a major,” said Higuchi, now an LPGA adviser.
Asked how she will celebrate her historic victory, Shibuno — nicknamed “Smiling Cinderella” — said she plans to satisfy her sweet tooth.
“I want to buy as many sweets as I can eat until I die. I eat a ton of sweets.” (Kyodo)