Hinako Shibuno (24) continues to be in a difficult situation. In April this year, she injured her left thumb and failed to qualify for the Bridgestone Ladies in May and the Ai Miyazato Suntory Ladies in June, despite taping up her thumb and enduring the pain. She failed to qualify for the next three events and suffered the humiliation of failing to qualify for five consecutive events.
I haven ‘t been able to play the way I want to play for a long time. He knows this, and recently he has been trying to keep his thumb out of his grip so that it doesn’t hurt. Normally, many players would rest until the thumb pain subsides. …… Shibuno has the strength to challenge what he can in the face of adversity,” said Shota Onishi, golf tour pro coach.
Although results were not easy to come by, Shibuno was able to qualify for the first time in a long time at the Amundi Evian Championship held July 27-30. She also finished in 16th place at the “Trust Golf Scottish Women’s Open,” held August 3-6, but she lost a lot of ground in the second half of the event and temporarily took the top spot.
She said, “My condition is improving. Golf is a sport where mentality directly affects the score, so if she can overcome her pain and remember the feeling and image she had when she was in good shape, her score will improve even more,” said Fumiko Muraguchi, a golf commentator.
The Women’s British Open will start on August 10. Shibuno is no stranger to the British Open, having won in 2007 and finished a respectable third last year, but will she be able to regain her title as queen?
Last year, she failed to qualify for three of her last five tournaments, and she abandoned the tournament once. Even so, she was able to participate in the championship and finish in third place because of her own competitive spirit and her genuine love for golf.
Golf is a solitary sport, and if you don’t believe in yourself, you cannot score well. She has the ability to believe in herself strongly. Whenever I meet Ms. Shibuno, she is always positive. She has the power to brighten up everyone around her. She is called the “Smile Cinderella” by the international media, and I myself feel the power of her smile. Since she is such a stable player, she should be able to bring good results on the big stage,” said Onishi.
The difficult course at the Walton Heath Golf Club, where the final round will be played, will be a tailwind for Shibuno.
The wind is strong, and the fairways and greens are hard. There are pot bunkers. The British Open is a four-day tournament where you have to endure, endure, endure, and fight through the four days while biting your back teeth. It is a totally different kind of tournament from the U.S. Open, where you have to stretch out and compete.
Shibuno-san’s strengths are his putter and approach, so if he can find a rhythm with those two and his shot recovery, he has a good chance of winning the tournament.
I would like to see Shibuko’s smile again on British soil.