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Former No. 1 LPGA golfer Shin Ji-yai to focus on Japan tour in 2014: agency

17:30 December 20, 2013

SEOUL, Dec. 20 (Yonhap) -- Former No. 1-ranked LPGA golfer Shin Ji-yai will focus on playing in Japan next year, citing fatigue after splitting recent seasons between the United States and Asia, her agency said on Friday.

Sema Sports Marketing said the South Korean golfer plans to play in 12 events on the U.S. tour, the minimum number required to retain her playing privileges for the following season, while spending most of her season on the LPGA of Japan Tour.

An official at the Seoul-based agency said Shin, 25, had been feeling exhausted while playing on both tours in the past. She has had to deal with back and wrist problems in recent years.

Shin won three U.S. LPGA events in 2008 as a non-member, including her first major at the Ricoh Women's British Open. Those wins gave her the full-time playing right for 2009, the year in which she grabbed three more victories en route to winning the money title and the Rookie of the Year honors.

Overall, she has 11 wins on the U.S. tour. Her most recent victory came in February this year at the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, the first tournament of the season.

Shin has also won five events in Japan, two of which were co-sanctioned by the U.S. LPGA Tour.

Also on Friday, Sema Sports Marketing said Shin's main corporate sponsor, Mirae Asset Financial Group, will not retain the golfer after her endorsement deal runs out next February.

She signed a five-year deal worth 1 billion won (US$942,000) per year. Sema said Shin will try to sign on with a Japan-based corporate sponsor since she will play most of her 2014 season there.



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