Three great years

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

course all year,” she said.

Feng won a bronze medal at the Rio Games, a his­toric break­through for Chi­nese women’s golf, and won two ti­tles on the LPGA Tour.

“I’ve im­proved a lot, not only in terms of skill but my at­ti­tude to­ward com­pe­ti­tion. Win­ning the bronze medal at the Olympics made me more con­fi­dent play­ing against in­ter­na­tional golfers,” she said.

“It was one of my best years, but I can’t say it is the best. It’s hard to top 2012, when I won my ma­jor ti­tle (at the LPGA Cham­pi­onship). I wouldn’t com­pare them. I’d like to say that I am sat­is­fied with my per­for­mance this year.”

Be­fore the open­ing of the China Ladies Open, Feng pre­dicted home­grown play­ers would put up a great fight against their South Korean coun­ter­parts, who have dom­i­nated the event since its launch 10 years ago. But she couldn’t pre­vent an­other Korean win as Kim Hyo-joo took home her third ti­tle.

“I did my best, to the last minute. It was such a pity that I made some mi­nor mis­takes,” said Feng.

Feng carded a fi­nal-round 69 on Sun­day to fin­ish three shots be­hind Kim, whose com­pa­tri­ots Lim Eun-bin and Jang Ha-na tied for sec­ond, two strokes back.

Feng’s suc­cess has been in­spi­ra­tional to a new gen­er­a­tion of Chi­nese ta­lent. She now likes to de­scribe her­self “an old golfer”, and ex­presses the hope that more “young­sters” fol­low in her foot­steps to share the bur­den of ex­pec­ta­tion.

“It is good to see that an in­creas­ing num­ber of young peo­ple pick up clubs. That is of great sig­nif­i­cance in pro­mot­ing the sport and boost­ing China’s pres­ence in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion,” said Feng.

“Hope­fully, in the near fu­ture, we can see a con­tin­gent of world-class Chi­nese to match the Kore­ans.”

The China Ladies Open saw 18 Kore­ans fin­ish in the top 20 — but Feng be­lieves next year could see China weaken that stran­gle­hold.

“Play­ing against Korean golfers has made us more con­fi­dent — we’ve made steady im­prove­ment in the past 10 years,” she said.

“We should have higher goals next year.”

2016 2015 2014

China’s Feng Shan­shan hits out of a bunker dur­ing the open­ing round of the Olympic tour­na­ment in Rio de Janeiro in Au­gust. Feng won the bronze medal at the Games.

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