5 Things: Feng's exciting finish yields homeland win
Shanshan Feng delivered a show for her home crowd Sunday at the Reignwood LPGA Classic. The Guangzhou native overtook Stacy Lewis on the 18th hole at Pine Valley Golf Club in Beijing, China for her second LPGA victory. Here are 5 Things to Know from this week's play in China:
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1. HOME TURF: Feng, 24, might only have two LPGA victories, but she’s made both count. The first, last year’s Wegmans LPGA Championship, was a major; now, Feng has won in front of a home crowd.
With the Reignwood victory, Feng crossed the $3 million mark in career earnings.
“I would say I’m as happy as when I won the major last year,” said Feng. “This is our first time to have an LPGA event in Beijing, and Reignwood is my new sponsor, so I really wanted to do well to make them look good. And I think I did a great job. I broke my low score for four rounds, and I think I gave all my best.”
Feng entered the final round with a one-shot lead on Lewis. Lewis, however, birdied four of her first six holes as Feng just tried to keep up. By the time the two entered the par-5 18th hole, Lewis was leading by one.
“Well, when I was going to the final hole I was one down, and the last hole is a short par 5, which I thought Stacy was going for, which she didn’t, so I was like, oh, maybe she’s giving me a chance for playing off,” said Feng. “I never thought I would just hit the second shot so close to the pin I made the eagle.”
Feng then hit her second shot – helped greatly by a good bounce – to 3 feet and made the putt for eagle. Lewis missed her 18-footer for birdie to force a playoff.
As for the home-crowd effect? It created both nerves and excitement for Feng.
“So this time I’m in the last group, playing with Stacy,” said Feng. “I mean we were the only two that were competing. And then all the crowds were going for me, so I actually, you know, I started to aim, line up, and then the longer I stood there, I started to feel like a little shaky, I was like nervous, just wanted to get it done.”
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2. WILD FINISH: That crowd didn’t make Lewis’ job any easier at No. 18. It made for an unexpected finish.
“I kind of just feel like it was just taken from me,” Lewis said. “You’d like to win on a good shot but obviously it wasn’t a good shot. It’s very frustrating. It was a frustrating day just with the crowds and dealing with all that. It was hard to play today.”
Regardless, Lewis earned her 15th top-10 this season, and took the lead in the Vare Trophy race for low scoring average. Lewis, with a 69.56 average, leapfrogged Suzann Petersen.
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3. INBEE CLOSE BEHIND: Lewis and Feng might have stolen the spotlight at No. 18, but the player in third also is worth noting: World No. 1 Inbee Park.
Park knocked at the door all week long, but never could challenge for the lead. Park climbed into third in the third round and stayed there through tournament’s end.
Park’s 21-under 271 left her five shots behind Feng.
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4. REPRESENTING THEIR COUNTRY: Feng won one for China on Sunday, but the country was well-represented at the inaugural event.
Behind Feng, Liying Ye was the next highest finisher from China. Ye posted a bogey-free 4-under 69 in the first round and eventually tied for 19th at 9-under 283.
Of the 20 players from China in the event, five were amateurs. That includes two top college freshmen from the U.S. – Duke’s Yu Liu (73rd) and Vanderbilt’s Simin Feng (T-29).
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5. LOW SUNDAY ROUND: Pine Valley Golf Club allowed for some low rounds throughout the Reignwood LPGA Classic. Jessica Korda and Na Yeon Choi, for instance, opened with 9-under 64.
On Sunday, however, tough hole locations limited birdies and held scores closer to par. The low round belonged to rookie Lisa McCloskey, who shot 7-under 66 to climb from a tie for 53rd to a tie for 23rd.
McCloskey bogeyed the second hole, the had five birdies over her seven eight holes.