Feng hopes seaside sojourn will reap major rewards
Chinese star Feng Shanshan reckons this week’s Kumho Tires Ladies Open in Weihai, Shandong province, is the perfect pick-me-up for her next assault on a major.
The 27-year-old world No 6 failed to make the cut at last weekend’s Women’s PGA Championship at Olympia Fields in Illinois, the second major of the year, which was won by Danielle Kang of the US.
Feng is anxious to bounce back from that disappointment as the China LPGA Tour rolls into coastal Weihai. With a good result, she’ ll head to next week’s US Women’s Open, the year’s third major, with her confidence restored.
“I’m expecting to play solid here and have some fun on home soil. I think all the bad things happend last week,” said Feng, who won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Co-sanctioned by the Korean LPGA, the $434,000 tournament, which runs from Friday to Sunday, is worth $86,000 to the winner.
In three visits to the scenic Weihai Point Hotel and Golf Resort, Feng has been runnerup twice, losing to Kim Hyoweek in 2015 and Lee Minyoung last year.
“I’ve come very close to winning the trophy in Weihai the past two years,” said Feng, who has one LPGA Tour triumph this season, at the Volvik Championship in May.
“I had a great start on the LPGA Tour this year with an early win, which was a result of some adjustment to my play and my mindset.”
It’s a tight turnaround for Feng ahead of the US Women’s Open at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey. However, she feels it’s worth it — especially considering the contributions her sponsor, Kumho Tires, makes to golf in China and South Korea.
“Kumho Tires offers golfers from the two countries a great opportunity to get together here and compare notes on the coastal course,” Feng said.
“Young Chinese golfers can use this great opportunity to improve their skills.”
Feng and her compatriots will face a strong contingent of Korean stars, led by Jang Ha-na, who notched four LPGA career wins before returning to play on the KLPGA Tour in May.
The China LPGA Tour continues to expand rapidly and this year sees the inclusion of an Australian tour event, a KLPGA tournament and regional qualification for the US Women’s Open.
As evidence of the tour’s growing strength, more Chinese are graduating to higherlevel tours in Japan, Europe and the US.
The latest victory came from 21-year-old Liu Yu, who survived a closing bogey to win her first Symetra Tour title, the Tullymore Classic in Michigan, by a stroke last Sunday.
The Beijinger closed with a 4-under 68 for a 16-under 200 total and earned $15,000 to jump from 10th to fifth on the money list with $42,571. The top 10 at the end of the season will earn LPGA Tour cards.
Feng Shanshan, China’s No 1 female golfer, chips out of a bunker during a practice round for the Kumho Tires Ladies Open in Weihai, Shandong province, on Wednesday.