Shi wins qualifier, punches ticket to US Women’s Open

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 Shi Yuting.[file photo]

Shi Yuting booked herself a ticket for this summer's US Women's Open on Tuesday when the Beijing teenager won the lone spot available at a China sectional qualifier for the oldest major in women's golf.

Playing against a field of 21 China LPGA Tour regulars and top amateurs at the CGA Nanshan International Training Center Garden Course in Shandong, the 17-year-old national team player carded rounds of 74 and 71 for a one-over 145 score and a one-shot victory.

South Korean Jang So-young (78-68) was runner-up, while Chinese Taipei's Cheng Ssu-chia (73-74) was two shots behind Shi's winning mark at the one-day qualifier.

With a strong wind blowing across the 6,193-yard layout, Shi took advantage of the calmer conditions of the afternoon to close with a workman-like round that included two birdies and lone-bogey.

Her appearance at the 70th US Women's Open on July 9-12 at Pennsylvania's Lancaster Country Club will be her second in the tournament after qualifying last year as an amateur.

"Now I have played that event I found out I really enjoyed it, which made me more eager to play again. Today I am proud that I did it. I'm excited now," said Shi who turned pro in October.

"I made a triple bogey at the second hole to the last in the morning (round) and lost the lead, but I didn't give up. Last year, I won it in the afternoon. My advantage is stamina, endurance. I believe I can do it, so I just tried my best to play solid in the afternoon."

After missing the cut at last year's US Women's Open by nine strokes when she shot 80-79 on the famed Pinehurt No. 2 layout, Shi said she was confident that she could produce a better result this year.

"Last year I felt pressure and just went blank on the first tee in the US Women's Open. But that was just nerves. I believe I can now play with a calm mind this year and get a better finish."

The China qualifier is one of four international qualifiers being played around the world, in addition to 21 events being held in the United States.

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