Yarralumla, Australia – Jiyai Shin closed with a 1-under 72 on Sunday to win the Women's Australian Open by two strokes.
Shin, who shared second at this event in 2011, finished at 18-under-par 274. This was her 11th LPGA Tour title and her third tour victory in the last six months.
"I'm really happy to be here. I had a couple good chances at this tournament before, but finally I won here," said Shin at the trophy presentation. "This is the first event and this is a good start to the year. I'm still looking for a few more wins this year."
Women's world No. 1 Yani Tseng rallied within one of Shin late in the round, but could only par the par-5 18th to end two back. Tseng closed with a 7-under 66 at the par-73 Royal Canberra Golf Club to finish at minus-16.
Lydia Ko, the 15-year-old amateur, rallied back into a share of the lead after dropping three shots in the first two holes, but two late bogeys dropped her four behind Shin. Ko closed with a 3-over 76 to end at 14-under-par 278.
Beatriz Recari (71) and Moriya Jutanugarn (69) shared fourth place at minus-13, while Gwladys Nocera (70) and Carlota Ciganda (70) were one back at 12-under-par 280.
Shin led by four over Ko early in the round, but around the turn the par-4 12th looked as though it was going to be the turning point in determining the winner.
Ko, who has three professional wins including last week's New Zealand Women's Open, rolled in a birdie putt from just over 15 feet out to move to 16-under, while Shin failed to get up and down for par from a greenside bunker. That bogey dropped her into a share of the lead.
However, it was Shin that took off from there. She chipped in for birdie from left of the 14th green. Ko, meanwhile, stumbled to bogey there to fall two back.
Shin, the reigning Women's British Open champion, made it two in a row with a 2-putt birdie on the par-5 15th. That got her to 18-under, where she was two clear of Tseng and three ahead of Ko.
Tseng, who bogeyed the first, ran off three straight birdies from the second, then eagled the par-5 sixth to jump to 13-under. She had three birdies in a 5- hole span from the 13th to briefly get within one at minus-16.
Armed with a 2-stroke lead, Shin got up and down for par from just over the 16th green, then 2-putted for par from just inside 20 feet at No. 17.
Tseng scrambled to a par at the last to walk off two behind, and Ko bogeyed 17 to drop four behind.
"I'm pretty happy with my round today. I knew I was pretty close," said Tseng.
Shin played the last perfectly. She hit the fairway off the tee, played her second down the fairway and dropped her third some 25 feet from the hole. She calmly 2-putted for the win.
Early on, it looked as though Shin would run away with the crown. She kicked in a short birdie effort at the first, while Ko faltered to a double-bogey. Ko dropped another stroke at two, where she 3-putted from about 15 feet out.
Shin was suddenly four clear and in firm control. Ko drained back-to-back birdies at four and five, while Shin tripped to a bogey at five and her lead was back to one just like that.
Shin ran off six straight pars from the sixth. Ko dipped two back when she made a mess of the 10th. Ko rallied at the 12th, but couldn't keep pace down the stretch.
"It was good to get back into the game, but after a few bogeys, I just had to enjoy being out there," Ko said. "I learned a bit from everyone this week"
NOTES: Shin earned $180,000 for the victory ... Along with the Women's British Open, she also won the Kingsmill Championship last year ... This was just the 13th professional event that Ko has competed in ... Jessica Korda, last year's champion, carded a 4-under 69 on Sunday to end in a tie for 18th at 7-under 285 ... Tseng will defend her title next week at the Honda LPGA Thailand.