Date: January 05, 2011

World Number 1 to shine on sandbelt

World Number 1 golfer Jiyai Shin will make a sensational return to Melbourne s sandbelt for the Handa Women’s Australian Open at Commonwealth Golf Club from 3-6 February. The 22 year old Korean has already amassed 34 titles around the world and returns following her runner-up finish in a play-off with Karrie Webb at Kingston Heath in 2008. Joining Shin will be World Number 5 and defending champion Yani Tseng who won two of the four majors the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Women’s British Open in 2010. “I love Melbourne golf courses, Shin said. In 2008 when we played Kingston Heath it was such a big event for me because it was the first time I had a good chance to win outside Asia and the crowds were huge. It was so much fun and good pressure playing against Karrie Webb in the playoff. I feel like Australia is my second home because I have an Australian trainer, Australian coach, Australian caddy and Katherine Hull is a good friend of mine so I can now speak really good Aussie. I haven t played Commonwealth before, but Yani (Tseng) tells me it s a great course and in some places really tight which suits my game because I hit straight, so I am really looking forward to playing, Shin added. In 2010, Shin won the Evian Masters in France, the Mizuno Classic in Japan and the Korean LPGA Championship. The Handa Women’s Australian Open will be Shin s only stop in Australia before commencing her LPGA Tour season in Thailand and Singapore. Golf Australia s Tournament Director Trevor Herden said he was thrilled to welcome the World Number 1 back to Melbourne. We are delighted that Jiyai has added the Handa Women’s Australian Open to her demanding 2011 schedule to play at Commonwealth, Herden said. Our championship continues to grow and in recent years has attracted a number of the world s top 20 players. Having the World Number 1 play will only build on that further. We have no doubt that both golf and sport fans will seize the opportunity to see the best female golfer in the world in action. Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty welcomed the announcement. The inclusion of Korea s world number one ranked golfer Jiyai Shin adds even more prestige to the Open, Mr Delahunty said. The strong field further reinforces Victoria s reputation as a major drawcard for the world s best golfers and a premier golfing destination, he said. In 2009 Shin was crowned LPGA Rolex Rookie of the Year, LPGA Tour Money List winner and the Golf Writers Association of America Female Player of the Year. Shin will compete against a world class field including defending champion and World Number 5 Yani Tseng, World Number 16 Karrie Webb, World Number 19 Katherine Hull, crowd favourites Laura Davies , Christina Kim and rising star Alexis Thompson. The HANDA Women’s Australian Open has a rich history with winners holding 31 Major championship victories and five World Golf Hall of Fame memberships between them. The title s former champions include Karrie Webb, Annika Sorenstam, Laura Davies, Sophie Gustafson and Yani Tseng.