FOUR years after she won the Women’s British Open at Sunningdale, England’s Karen Stupples ended this year’s championship at the same course in utter admiration of the new breed of young Asian players.
South Korea’s Ji-Yai Shin, 20, became the youngest winner of the title with a superb final-day 66 and an 18-under-par total.
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng was second on 15 under and South Korean Eun-Hee Ji and Japan’s Yuri Fudoh shared third place on 14 under.
Another Japanese player, Ai Miyazato, was on fifth on 13 under before Cristie Kerr finally broke the mould by finishing in sixth place on 12 under.
Stupples was tied 24th on six under – 13 Asian players finished above her – and she was the best of the 11 British players who qualified for the final 36 holes.
While Mexico’s world No1 Lorena Ochoa won the season’s opening major – the Kraft Nabisco Championship – Tseng won the LPGA Championship and another South Korean, Inbee Park, triumphed at the US Women’s Open.
“It is incredible,” said Stupples, who plays on the LPGA Tour in America. “But I think it is the Asian culture that is producing so many good players.
“They do nothing but play golf and practise all day long, while we in Britain tend to mix sport with other things such as going to university.
“But there is no doubt that Asian players could dominate our game for years to come.”
Shin started playing golf when she was 11, and her route to the top included a traumatic 2004 when her mother was killed in a car crash and her younger brother and sister were both seriously injured.