Get to know Hinako Shibuno

Hinako Shibuno had only left Japan once in her life before travelling to the UK to compete in the 2019 AIG Women’s British Open, so it is something of a shock to see her name at the top of the leaderboard heading into the final day.

In her first Major, Shibuno has shown a calmness that belies her tender age of 20. She was one over par at the turn of her third round on Saturday and going the wrong way, but six birdies on the back nine – including consecutive gains to finish – left her in pole position at Woburn.

So who is Hinako Shibuno? The international media were dying to find out on Saturday evening, and by the end of the translated press conference she had them eating out of her hand.

Here’s what we learned:

-    Her nickname is ‘Smiling Cinderella’ because she could not stop smiling after winning her first tournament in Japan
-    2019 is her rookie year on the Japanese LPGA Tour
-    In May, she won the World Ladies Championship Salonpas Cup, a major on the JLPGA Tour, and added a second victory in July at the Shiseido Anessa Ladies Open
-    Her golfing idol is Lexi Thompson
-    The 2020 Toyko Olympics is a huge goal for her
-    Woburn feels like a Japanese course to her, which may explain why she is doing so well
-    Her expectations heading into the tournament were only to make the cut
-    She enjoys softball
-    The only time she has left Japan previously was to go to Thailand to practise last year
-    She can turn her double-jointed arms nearly full around