LPGA.com counts down to the end of 2013 with the LPGA Tour's 13 top stories of the year. Join us as we look back at the year's most memorable milestones. Read about Feng shining in China in Story No. 8.
Shanshan Shines in China
You could not have written it out much better. The storyline and dramatic finish at the inaugural Reignwood LPGA Classic seemed to be fit for a Hollywood script. The LPGA Tour held its first event in mainland China at the Pine Valley Golf Club in Beijing and brought some of the Tour’s brightest stars to the country’s capital including the Tour’s first Chinese winner and major champion, Shanshan Feng.
Feng had a strong presence in the process of the Tour bringing an event to her native country and earlier in the week, signed an endorsement deal with the tournament’s title sponsor, Reignwood. She was the hometown hero and one of golf’s biggest ambassadors in China. All eyes were on Feng with the expectation to perform in front of the Chinese crowds. And did she ever deliver.
Feng played well all week posting rounds of 70-64-64 in the first three rounds and held a one-shot lead over Stacy Lewis heading into the final round. The duo battled down the stretch on Sunday and walked to the 18th tee with Lewis one shot ahead of Feng.
“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 hit one of the most miraculous shots of the year in such a high-pressure situation. Her ball took a perfect bounce right in front of the green, directing it right on line with the pin. After hitting the flag stick, Feng’s ball rolled to three feet, setting her up for eagle.
“Actually that shot I didn't go for anything,” said Feng. “I aimed like at the center of the green, just wanted to have a chance to putt, and I actually pushed it a little bit, so it was it was right in line with the pin, but I thought it was a little short. And then suddenly while I was walking I heard the noise when I crowd went like, "Wow!" I thought, what happened? I was like, ‘It must be good because they kept going.’ I was like, ‘I must be close.’”
Feng sank her eagle putt to become the first winner of the Reignwood LPGA Classic and said the victory ranked just as high as her major title last year at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
“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.”