Feng does just enough for Golfweek Invitational title
Photos: Golfweek East Coast Junior Invitational
Zachary Healy and Cindy Feng won the Golfweek junior event on Sunday at Celebration Golf Club. Check out the day in pictures.
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CELEBRATION, Fla. –- No, Simin and Cindy Feng are not related. It’s been years since the two juniors, both based out of the Orlando, Fla., area, started playing together, yet the surname still trips up spectators.
“We get that a lot,” Cindy said of the sister question after the final round of the Golfweek Junior Invitational at Celebration Golf Club on Sunday, where the Fengs played in the final group. Both players also dressed in power pink for the warm fall day.
Simin and Cindy have experienced similarly streaky junior golf careers. At least in the past year. Cindy, who won the Golfweek Invitational thanks in large part to a first-round 69 in Celebration, is coming back from a year plagued with injuries. After frequenting the top junior events, and winning four AJGA Invitational titles by the time she was 14 years old, Cindy spent much of 2011 on the sidelines with various injuries. She currently is ranked No. 24 in the Golfweek Junior Rankings.
Cindy, now 16, shot the lowest round of any competitor, boy or girl, in Round 1. She struggled with her putting on Sunday, even though she says it was “just off by a little bit.”
“These greens are quite hard to begin with,” she said of Celebration Golf Club’s undulating putting surfaces.
Starting on the back nine for Round 2, Cindy bogeyed Nos. 11, 14 and 16, and double bogeyed 15. She got back on track with a birdie on No. 17, and added three more on the front.
“On the back nine, (Simin) caught up a lot,” Cindy said. Cindy ended the day with a 2-over 74 to Simin’s 72. Still, Simin – along with Cheyenne Knight of The Woodlands, Texas (No. 64) – fell two shots short. Those players tied for runner-up honors at even-par 144.
Cindy plans to make the Golfweek Junior Invitational her last junior event of 2012, but she’ll continue to play junior events in 2013. She will start next year with the Florida Orange Blossom Circuit, which includes top amateur events like the Dixie Women’s Amateur, Harder Hall Invitational and South Atlantic Amateur (all of which she plans to play). She still hasn’t made any decisions on whether or not she’ll play for a college when she finishes high school (she is homeschooled) in the spring of 2014, or which college that might be.
At least in that department, Simin has a far different story. The 17-year-old recently made a verbal commitment to Vanderbilt after narrowing down her decision to Stanford, Duke, USC and Vanderbilt.
“Everybody seems to progress more out of Vanderbilt,” she said of her decision, and talks excitedly about an upcoming official visit.
Ranked No. 42 in the Golfweek Junior Rankings, has spent much of the past two years getting her game back in order after a swing change threw her off kilter. You might say the comeback became official with her victory on Sept. 3 at the AJGA Girls’ Junior. She entered the Golfweek Junior Invitational just three days after winning the Class 1A Florida State High School Championship. She beat Sierra Brooks on the first playoff hole at Mission Inn Resort’s Las Colinas course. Simin’s high school, Windermere Prep, also won the team title.
Like Cindy, Simin struggled with Celebration’s greens during the final round. She called the back nine “a disaster,” and had two doubles (including a four-putt at No. 14) and a bogey on that side. Simin returned a 3-under 33 on the front.
“I was hitting my irons the whole round really solid,” she said.
The comeback seems complete, for both players.