ANN ARBOR, MI – Shanshan Feng is feeling like herself again.
Struggling with a lack of confidence to start 2017, Feng got a much-needed boost with her first victory of 2017 on Sunday at the LPGA Volvik Championship at Travis Pointe Country Club. She set a new 72-hole Tournament scoring record at 20-under par, winning by two-strokes ahead of Minjee Lee and Sung Hyun Park. Jeong Eun Lee and Lizette Salas finished tied for fourth at 17-under par.
"I was trying to win the tournament since the start today and I'm glad that I did it," Feng said after her round. "I'm really happy to have this win because I've had six wins on the LPGA so far but only two in the U.S. So I'm really happy that I'm not only playing well in Asia but also in the U.S, and very glad that a lot of the Chinese came today to actually come support me."
After an incredible 2016 season that included winning the bronze medal at the Olympic games in Rio, followed by back-to-back victories during the Tour’s swing through Asia, Feng’s expectations were high for 2017. With one top-10 and a missed cut in her first five starts, Feng felt she was loosing a handle on her game. With some new wedges in the bag and a few adjustments to her swing, Feng finished in the top-10 in her last two starts before heading to Michigan. The world’s seventh ranked player was beginning to feel like herself again and it showed this week in Michigan. This week, Feng posted four sub-70 rounds to capture her seventh career win on the LPGA Tour.
Feng is not one to watch leaderboards. While she extended her lead to as many as four over the course of the day, she was unaware that Minjee Lee was making a run up the leaderboard. Lee made five birdies in a six-hole stretch to cut into Feng’s lead and when Feng made bogey at the par three, 16th hole, Lee was then just two-strokes back of the lead. But Lee was watching the leaderboard and took another glance down the closing stretch.
“I was like ‘oh, I'm four shots behind with like two holes to go. So just tried to play and make as many birdies as I could on the last two holes. I made one,” Lee told the media.
Lee missed an opportunity to make birdie at the72nd hole when she sent approach wayward, well left of the grandstand. It wasn’t until she was waiting to putt out on the 72nd hole that she turned and looked at the leaderboard again and realized she was just two-strokes back. Lee made an incredible up and down to save par at the 72nd hole and post a bogey-free, 7-under par, 65. The tie for second is her third top-3 of 2017.
“I'm pretty happy with my result,” said Lee. “Obviously I'm going to come up a little bit short, but still, yeah, I hit it pretty solid all week and I putted pretty well all week.”