Shanshan Feng made history on her home soil. The 28-year-old from Guangzhou won for a second consecutive week on the LPGA and is projected to become the first golfer from China – male or female – to rise to No. 1 in the world.
“I finished first in China, so I actually claimed the world No. 1 in front of all the people at home,” said Feng. “So I’m really happy about that, and I hope all the Chinese are going to be watching me, and the Chinese can play golf. Hopefully there will be more Chinese getting on the tours and more world No. 1’s coming up from China.”
Feng, a bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics, closed with a 70 at the Blue Bay LPGA event on Hainan Island to win by one stroke over Moriya Jutanugarn. The elder Jutanugarn sister lipped out a short birdie putt on the final hole that would’ve forced a playoff. Earlier this season, Ariya Jutanugarn became the first player from Thailand to reach No. 1.
Feng joined In-Kyung Kim as the only players to win three titles in 2017. The self-described slow starter hasn’t finished outside the top three in her last four starts in Asia.
“I just want 2017 to keep going,” said Feng. “A never-ending 2017, that would be great.”
Moriya, still winless on the LPGA, recorded her second runner-up finish of the season. Both Jutanugarn sisters have a chance at winning the CME Race to the Globe $1 million bonus, something Ariya accomplished last season.
“I will keep knocking the door,” Moriya posted on Instagram after the round. Both Jutanugarn sisters have crossed the $1 million in earnings this season.
Current No. 1 Sung Hyun Park, Jessica Korda, Megan Khang and Ashleigh Buhai tied for third, five strokes back.
The top five in the CME Race to the Globe have a chance to win the bonus outright with a victory next week in Naples, Fla. Feng moved up to No. 3 on the list after Blue Bay, joining 1. Lexi Thompson 2. Sung Hyun Park 4. So Yeon Ryu and 5. Brooke Henderson.
Feng, who now owns nine LPGA titles, said her next objective is to qualify for the Hall of Fame. She has 10 of the 27 points needed to qualify for the HOF.
“I feel that I don’t want to wait until I really get older and I won’t have this chance,” she said.