• Kyodo


Hinako Shibuno’s Women’s British Open title defense ended Friday when the 21-year-old missed the cut by three shots, carding 12-over par through the first two rounds.

On the front nine at the spectator-free Royal Troon Golf Club, Shibuno had one birdie, two bogeys and one double bogey before dropping a further four shots on the back nine to end the day 7-over par.

Fellow Japanese Harukyo Nomura sits in a tie for ninth at 2-over, three strokes behind leader Dani Holmqvist of Sweden who is the only player under par after two rounds.

After an opening-day round of 3-over, Nomura got herself into contention by shooting a 1-under 70 on Friday.

Shibuno struggled with what she described as “typhoon-like” wind in her first round, when she shot 5-over. Then, she had pelting rain to contend with during her second day on the Scottish links, poor iron play costing her dearly.

“I tried to enjoy playing, but really feel frustrated. I want to come back (to the tournament) with more confidence in my shots,” said Shibuno, who stunned last year when took the title in her maiden event outside Japan.

Shibuno’s fortunes turned for the worse on the par-4 seventh when she shanked her second shot from 130 yards into the deep rough, eventually carding a double-bogey. She then failed to get up and down from a bunker on the eighth, the hole where she had one of her three first-round birdies.

Shibuno, who earned the “Smiling Cinderella” nickname after her run to the title last year, drove well but revealed she has been reluctant to “make full swings with my irons” for the last few months.

She also lacked confidence on the greens, struggling with distance control.

“The wind was so strong I was just desperate on getting my strokes right to make them go straight. I couldn’t get my head around the distances,” Shibuno said of her putting.

“The score is down to me, not the wind,” said Shibuno, who has now missed the cut in three straight tournaments on the Japanese and U.S. tours, including the Ladies Scottish Open last week.

“I feel I’ve found all the things my game is currently missing in the past two weeks.”

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