Rookie Shibuno on course for stunning Women’s British Open triumph

In her first tournament outside Japan, Hinako Shibuno holds a two-shot lead with 18 holes remaining at the Women’s British Open.

Hinako Shibuno will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Women’s British Open, as she aims to complete a remarkable triumph in the first event she has ever competed in outside of her native Japan.

Shibuno, a 20-year-old rookie on the JLPGA Tour who has hypermobility in her left elbow joint, charged into first place at 14 under with a sensational back nine featuring six birdies and three pars.

While the youngster completed a round of 67 by picking up shots at four of the last five holes, long-time leader Ashleigh Buhai faltered down the stretch, bogeying the 12th, 13th and 16th on her way to a 72.

Buhai, who has never posted a top-25 finish at a major championship, will now need to come from behind on Sunday having led after rounds one and two, while Shibuno is on course to become only the second Japanese winner of a women’s major. Chako Higuchi won the Women’s PGA Championship in 1977.

 

Park Sung-hyun (68) of South Korea sits third on 11 under, while compatriot Ko Jin-young – already the winner of two majors this year – is ominously placed four off the pace after a 68 lifted her into a tie for fourth with Morgan Pressel (66) and Lizette Salas (70).

Hopes of a home victory rest with Charley Hull and Bronte Law, who both shot 70 to trail Shibuno by five. Carlota Ciganda is also on nine under but will rue a costly double-bogey on the 18th.

Defending champion Georgia Hall faded on Saturday, shooting a three-over 74 to slip back to four under for the tournament.

 

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