Feng aims to break Open jinx
As a teenager, Feng Simin grabbed the attention of golf fans when she became the first amateur to win a China LPGA Tour event in Wuhan, Hubei province, in 2012.
Now 21, Feng is looking to break South Korea’s dominance at the Hyundai China Ladies Open — a championship stranglehold that has stretched to 10 years.
“The China Open has become one of my favorite tournaments because it is the last event of the year and the chance to play with so many top international players,” Feng, a Beijing native, said after firing a 3-over 75 in Friday’s opening round at Lion Lake Country Club in Qingyuan, Guangdong province
After taking three weeks off to recover from a back injury, the US LPGA Tour regular said she felt good heading into the national championship tournament, where she hopes to make a run at breaking China’s title drought.
“The course is in great shape right now,” said Feng. “The greens are on the tougher side, so patience on the greens will definitely come into play.”
“For myself, I feel I have a duty to be here at the China Open, helping China to win trophies.”
Li Hong, CEO of the China LPGA Tour Ltd, said the nation’s female golfers have become competitive internationally, inspired by the success of Feng Shanshan.
Feng Shanshan, 27, won two titles on the US LPGA Tour this season and a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.
She was at the top of the leaderboard on Friday after an opening round of even-par 72
“A lot of young Chinese golfers from past editions of the China Ladies Open have gone on to become top players,” Li said, adding that working with the Korean side has greatly boosted the development of women’s golf here.
“The annual China Open has already become a cradle of champions for both China and South Korea,” said Li.
Wang Liwei, vice-chairman of the China Golf Association, said cooperation with South Korea in creating the annual China Ladies Open has helped raise the profile of Chinese golfers in international competitions.
“The Open marked the start of the international development of women’s professional golf in China, creating a new avenue for exchange between China and South Korea in the sport,” said Wang.
Before the tournament was launched in 2006, China had no professional events for female golfers.
“Inspired by players from South Korea, a host of young talents like Lin Xiyu, Yan Jing, Feng Simin, Shi Yuting and Zhang Weiwei have showcased their potential in various global competitions,” said Wang.
For myself, I feel I have a duty to be here at the China Open, helping China to win trophies.” Feng Simin, China’s US LPGA Tour regular
China’s Feng Simin follows through on her drive off the No 2 tee during Friday’s first round of the Hyundai China Ladies Open in Qingyuan, Guangdong province. Feng carded a 75 to put her three strokes back of leader Feng Shanshan.