Japan’s Hinako Shibuno, who won the hearts of golf fans last year, will seek to defend her title at the 2020 AIG Women’s Open this week at Royal Troon.
Shibuno, who has risen to No. 13 in the world on the Rolex Rankings, won last year’s Championship on her international golfing debut, never having previously played a tournament outside of Japan before her fairy-tale trip to Woburn.
Shibuno, whose cheerful on-course demeanour earned her the nickname “the Smiling Cinderella,” captured the hearts and minds of spectators and millions of viewers around the world when she smiled and high-fived her way to a winning 18-under-par total, claiming the title with a dramatic 18-foot putt on the final hole.
The 21-year-old commented, “I am so glad to be able to defend my title at the AIG Women’s Open. I think it will be a very special feeling to return as the defending champion and I am looking forward to the experience very much.
“I am excited to play at Royal Troon where so many Open Championships have been held and I hope my game will match up to the challenges presented by this famous links course.”
A talented field featuring major champions, Solheim Cup stars and home favourites will tee it up at the famous Ayrshire links. The 2015 Champion Inbee Park has tasted success on Scottish links already and will be aiming to add to her remarkable haul of seven major titles next month.
Park, a winner of 20 LPGA titles, said: “I absolutely love playing in the UK at the AIG Women’s Open and the last time we played on the west coast of Scotland at Turnberry was when I managed to win.
“With so much uncertainty surrounding our schedule recently due to the coronavirus, I felt so happy when I finally heard the news that the championship was going ahead. AIG’s extension to their partnership is also a strong commitment to women’s golf in these difficult times.”
The AIG Women’s Open is making its debut on the prestigious links of Royal Troon, which has hosted The Open on nine occasions and most recently in 2016 when Sweden’s Henrik Stenson triumphed.
It has also hosted The Senior Open Championship, The Amateur Championship, the Women’s Amateur Championship, The Home Internationals and the Scottish Men’s and Women’s Amateur Championship.
For further information on the AIG Women’s Open, visit www.AIGwomensopen.com.
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