Date: February 15, 2013
Author: Bruce Young /

Shin feeling confident and comfortable

As Jiyai Shin walked from the golf course at the completion of her morning round on day two of the ISPS Australian Women&aposs Open she enjoyed a four shot lead over the young lady who stole the show on day one, Lydia Ko. Ko was in the early stages of a round that might well see her catch and pass Shin but whatever lay ahead in terms of her position on the leader-board at the end of play on day two Shin was already very comfortable with her place in the tournament and her feelings about Royal Canberra. In fact Shin felt good about the golf course the moment she set foot on it earlier in the week. “My strength is straight hit with my driver, so when I first time came up to here, when I see the narrow fairway I really liked that and then lots of trees around here and lots of kangaroos too. “So really I enjoy to play and also the green is pretty soft at the moment so I hit a lot of my low iron and hybrid but easy to make the green with my long club too. So it really make the good course for me.” The good vibes a golfer gets about a golf course early in a tournament week can play a key role in how a player performs and that appears to be the case with the 24 year old this week. “Well actually the fairway was a little bit softer than yesterday,” added Shin when asked to compare today&aposs set-up with yesterday&aposs. “Yesterday I played in the afternoon and today I played in the morning, so that s why I hit it a little bit shorter than yesterday with my drivers. So I hit a lot of shots from the fairway with my hybrid and fairway wood, but I hit it quite good. So I still make a lot of birdies.” The former world number one was asked to compare her game with that which saw her reach and maintain the position of world number one over two years or so and whether it was getting back to where it was back then. “Actually I think so. I played a lot – when I play on the course I have more experience last few years, so it feels like my skill and my tempo is better than a couple of years ago, so I feel really comfortable and then when I was world no. 1 I had a lot of pressure. So when I play on the course my swing tempo is getting faster and faster, faster. I risked a lot of shots but now I move away from number one I am challenging just myself. I feel comfortable and confident right now right now.” With Lydia Ko still to make a move at that point but clearly a threat to Shin as the tournament goes on, Shin was asked as to her thoughts on the 15 year old and whether there were parallels between her game and that of the New Zealander. “Well, when I played with her, I just played very similar because she hit a lot of time with her hybrid and she had good control with her hybrid. She hits it a little bit longer than me but when I played with her in Canada (where she won) she hit it straight with the long game too. So it was like very similar, her game and my game. “When she won the Canadian Open she was just 15 years old and the Canadian Open is also a pretty big event on the LPGA but she was never nervous. She really enjoyed playing and she really enjoyed the crowd too. So I m very impressed about that.” Shin has full recovered from surgery to her hand in May of last year and that she was forced from the game for two months or so proved to be a blessing in disguise. “I had a hand operation last end of May and then take the break for a couple of months. Well, now it s not anymore problem and I feel really good. Actually after the surgery I lost a lot of muscle on my left arm and shoulder, so I worked very hard with my left side muscles. It’s really good at the moment, good balance and I ve got a lot of muscle. So I gain more distance than before the surgery.” For Shin it was also a case of enjoying what she had been missing. “When I had the two month break I found my passion for the golf, because before surgery I was very busy. I played on the LPGA and also I played in JLPGA Tour, so obviously I was so tired. But when I take the break at home and when I m watching the other players playing on the tournament I really wanted to go back to the play. Finally I found a good passion for the golf in my life. So it was good experience for me.” Whether Shin finds herself in the lead or trailing Ko at the halfway mark is almost irrelevant. One gets the feeling that she is going to be a major factor over the closing 36 holes and the battle between the two players, both of Korean heritage and both with similar games could be one of the most exciting match-ups seen in Australian golf for some time.