Feng aims to break Open jinx

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By QIU QUANLIN in Qingyuan, Guang­dong

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

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

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.

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