South Korea’s Jiyai Shin claimed a one stroke victory at the Evian Masters presented by Société Générale, edging out the third round leader Morgan Pressel with a birdie on the closing hole.
The World No.4 returned a sizzling final round of 67 in blazing sunshine to finish at 14 under for the tournament. The 22-year-old is the first South Korean winner of the Evian Masters and will take home a first prize of $487,500, or €375,000.
Shin held the No. 1 world ranking for seven weeks after Lorena Ochoa’s retirement earlier this season and might still be there if not for an emergency appendectomy just a month and a half ago.
She is likely to regain the top spot on the Rolex Rankings when they are released on Monday morning after her performance at Evian, having come from two strokes behind the third round leader Pressel to earn her seventh LPGA victory and her 30th overall.
Shin showed why she is known as the final round queen as she birdied the fourth, fifth and eighth holes on the front nine for an outward total of 33.
She tied for the lead with Pressel after another birdie at the 13th before closing the deal by sinking an eight foot putt that was never in doubt at the par-five 18th for an inward total of 34.
Pressel had a slightly shorter, downhill putt, which slipped agonisingly past the hole and the American finished in a share of second with South Korean Na Yeon Choi and the 15-year-old American Alexis Thompson on 13 under, with Norway’s Suzann Pettersen in fifth on 12 under-par.
Pettersen was out in 31 after five birdies on the front nine at the first, fourth, seventh, eighth and ninth holes and came home in 35 after picking up her sixth shot at the par-four 16th.
She missed birdie chances on holes 17 and 18, where her 20 foot downhill putt slipped out of the hole and she collapsed to her knees, saying afterwards: “It was close. It looked like it was going in and it just sneaked out. I got a great start. I hit a lot of good putts on the back nine. I had one birdie and all I tried to do was hit aggressive putts and not leave them short. All I can do is give it a try.”
The next best placed European was Spain’s Azahara Munoz, the 2010 Evian Masters Ambassador, who shot a final round of 68 to share 11th place.
She said: “The first day I played okay and the second day was raining. It’s not an excuse but we got bad weather and everything was bad. Mentally I wasn’t in the right place and I was hitting bad shots, bad putts. Yesterday and today I got it together and started dropping more putts and hitting better shots.”
England’s Melissa Reid, who shared a three-way tie for the lead after an opening 66 but slid back on the second day with a 77, completed the tournament with rounds of 71 and 69 and finished in a tie for 19th.
Reid said: “I consider this the fifth major because it’s the strongest field we play all year. It’s the strongest field in the world and it’s good to see what I can play against and kind of shows a few things that I need to work on. It also shows that I’m not too far off either. I’ve left a lot of shots out there and you take away that 77 and put a 72 in there and I’m right up there with the leaders, so I definitely feel everything is moving in the right direction, which I’m pleased with and a top 20 in a field like this is pretty good.
“It gives me the confidence. It shows the amount I’ve improved from last year. I’ve played a C plus game this week and finished top 20. Last year I probably would have had to play a B plus game to be top 20. I’ve definitely improved this year.”