PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (July 5, 2023) — Lexus is thrilled to announce the addition of 24-year-old Japanese golfer Hinako Shibuno and 19-year-old phenom Amari Avery to its roster of sponsored golf champions. The pair’s sponsorship begins tomorrow at the start of the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open Championship, held at the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links, a longtime partner of Lexus.
“Hinako and Amari are rising stars in the world of women’s golf, and we’re so excited for their future as Lexus brand ambassadors,” said Nicole Peterson, Lexus Partnerships. “As part of the Lexus golf champions program, both Hinako and Amari will be critical in introducing the Lexus brand to new audiences and young people around the world.”
“It’s safe to say that working with Lexus has been one of my lifelong dreams,” said Hinako Shibuno. “In fact, the first thing I bought with my professional winnings was a Lexus NX! I am looking forward to representing such a world-class luxury brand.”
“I’m thrilled to partner with Lexus and to have the opportunity to represent a luxury brand with a rich history of supporting the game of golf,” said Amari Avery. “Lexus’ commitment to performance and pushing the limits of what is possible in their industry is incredibly inspiring to me; not only now during my amateur career, but also for the future when I aspire to play golf at the highest level as a professional.”
Hinako Shibuno started playing golf in her hometown of Okayama, Japan at age 8. Her game accelerated quickly, and she became a professional in 2018. Just one year later, in May 2019, she became the youngest tournament champion at The World Ladies Salonpas Cup. That July, she won her second title in her first-ever playoff at the Shiseido Anessa Ladies.
She made her debut appearance at the AIG Women’s British Open in August 2019, winning her first major. This historic achievement made her the second Japanese woman, after Hisako Higuchi in 1977, to win a major tournament. Her bright smile quickly earned her the nickname “Smiling Cinderella” and captivated spectators worldwide.
In 2020, she finished in fourth place at the U.S. Women’s Open. She then joined the title race at major tournaments, finishing fourth at the Chevron Championship in April and third at the AIG Women’s British Open in August 2022. She secured a seed by ranking 36th in the CME Globe Points Ranking.
Hinako also created her own YouTube channel, where she shares behind-the-scenes stories of her life on the US tour. Additionally, starting in 2022, she has been organizing the “Hinako Shibuno Cup Okayama Softball Tournament” and actively engaging in activities to give back to her hometown Okayama.
Shibuno is currently 54th in the Rolex World Rankings.
At only 19 years old, Amari Avery is one of the game’s brightest young stars and has made waves in the world of golf throughout her junior, amateur, and collegiate career. Recently reaching as high as #5 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, Amari’s lifelong dedication to the sport has already led her to find success on some of the biggest stages.
Her impressive amateur resume includes competing in the 2021, 2022, and 2023 Augusta National Women’s Amateur, the 2021 and 2023 U.S. Women’s Open, the 2023 Chevron Championship, as well as the 2022 and 2023 Palmer Cup, and 2022 Curtis Cup.
Over her two years playing collegiately at the University of Southern California thus far, Amari has captured four individual victories, including the 2022 NCAA Stanford Regional title, shattering numerous records in USC women’s golf history each season. Her collegiate accomplishments earned her consecutive All-Pac-12 First Team and WGCA All-American honors in 2022 and 2023.
Born in Riverside, CA and raised by her African American father and Filipino mother, Amari proudly represents her diverse racial and ethnic heritage. Gaining experience in the spotlight at an early age, Amari was one of eight junior golfers featured in the 2013 Netflix documentary, “The Short Game,” profiling her journey to the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship.
Lexus’ passion for brave design, imaginative technology, and exhilarating performance enables the luxury lifestyle brand to create amazing experiences for its customers. Lexus began its journey in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since then, Lexus has developed its lineup to meet the needs of global luxury customers in more than 90 countries. In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 244 dealers offering a full lineup of luxury vehicles. With seven models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers eight F SPORT models, one F performance model and one F model. Lexus is committed to being a visionary brand that anticipates the future for luxury customers.