Hinako Shibuno bounces back to finish fourth at Chevron Championship

Japan’s Hinako Shibuno recovered from her nightmare third-round to finish in a four-way tie for fourth Sunday at the Chevron Championship, the first major on this season’s LPGA Tour.

The 2019 Women’s British Open winner, who sat top after two rounds at Mission Hills Country Club, carded seven birdies and a bogey for a final-round 6-under 66 to wrap up in a 10-under 278.

Overnight leader Jennifer Kupcho hit a 74, but her 14-under total of 274 was enough to secure her first tour title on a major, seeing off fellow American Jessica Korda by two strokes. Pia Babnik of Slovenia was third with an 11-under.

A 77 on Saturday ultimately cost Shibuno her second major title, but the 23-year-old was back smiling following a commanding final round, where she birdied in three straight holes twice, from Nos. 2 and 10.

“I was really frustrated yesterday, so I gave all I had until the end,” said Shibuno, who on Sunday only missed the fairway once and needed the least putts throughout the four days with 25.

“I thought my putts were really steady and gave me many chances,” she said.

The third-round debacle began with a wild tee shot on the par-5 No. 2. Shibuno did not make the same mistake as she landed one over 275 meters on the fairway to set the tone for the rest of the impressive round.

“I did have a bad image, but I concentrated on getting (my swing) carefully to the very top, as much as I could,” said Shibuno, who missed the cut here last year.

“I’ve fought for the top spots and feel I’ve grown from last year. It was also positive that I could turn defiant (after the third round).”

Japan’s Nasa Hataoka had a 67 and finished 17th on a 5-under 283 alongside Yuka Saso, who hit a 72. Ayaka Furue’s 74 saw her end four strokes behind her compatriots in total and place 44th.

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