Korean star Jang homes in on hap­pi­ness

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By CHINA DAILY

Six weeks after sur­pris­ing the golf world by quit­ting the LPGA Tour, Ko­rea’s Jang Ha-na said she stood by her de­ci­sion to leave the US cir­cuit, be­cause be­ing at home and closer to her ag­ing par­ents took prece­dent.

Speak­ing in Shan­dong prov­ince dur­ing the Kumho Tire Ladies Open, the world No 13 said she was keen to move on from any con­tro­versy caused by re­scind­ing her LPGA Tour mem­ber­ship and in­stead con­cen­trate on se­cur­ing her first win of the LPGA of Ko­rea sea­son.

China’s No 1 Feng Shan­shan carded a 6-un­der 66 to lead the rain-in­ter­rupted first round on Thurs­day by two shots from South Korean Jeong Hae-won.

The $434,000 tour­na­ment at Wei­hai Point is co-sanc­tioned by the Korean and Chi­nese LPGA tours.

“When I had de­cided to go Amer­ica I just played for a bet­ter rank­ing and money,” said Jang, who posted four wins in the US over the last two-and-a-half years.

“But, you know, my mother is not in good health. I think that I made a right de­ci­sion. Hap­pi­ness is not all about fame and for­tune, there are other things.

“When I played in Amer­ica I felt lonely and empty be­cause those play­ers around me came from other coun­tries. Com­ing back to Ko­rea, not only my par­ents, but the whole cir­cle is fa­mil­iar and com­fort­able.

“Most of the play­ers come from Ko­rea and we play to­gether with a happy mind.”

While she hasn’t ruled out re­turn­ing to the US for ma­jors, the 25-year-old in­di­cated she will play next month’s Ri­coh Women’s Bri­tish Open at Kings­barns.

For now, how­ever, Jang just wants to con­cen­trate on this week after fin­ish­ing fourth last year at a tour­na­ment she led go­ing into the fi­nal round.

“The greens are play­ing great,” she said of the coastal course at Wei­hai Point Ho­tel and Golf Re­sort.

“I think there might be bet­ter scores this week. The fair­ways are not long but nar­row, where you should play with your wits.

“You need to hit well with your driver but also the other clubs in your bag.

“Tee shots are re­ally im­por­tant. You have to put your­self into good spots to score low. The tricky part of this course is from the 16th hole to the 18th.

“The fin­ish should be key to win­ning on Sun­day. Who will win is hard to pre­dict.”

World No 6 Feng has started bril­liantly and will take some stop­ping.

The big-hit­ting Chi­nese would dearly love to break the stran­gle­hold the Kore­ans have had on this tour­na­ment — the vis­i­tors have won for the past four years.

Feng, who fin­ished run­nerup last year, a shot be­hind Lee Min-young, missed the cut at last week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Cham­pi­onship.

How­ever, she comes into Wei­hai on the back of a strong sea­son that saw her win her 19th pro ti­tle in April with a vic­tory at the LPGA Volvik Cham­pi­onship Michi­gan.

“The course is play­ing great with lush fair­ways. But rain is fore­cast for the week­end. The scores will be un­pre­dictable if the wind picks up.”

The Guang­dong na­tive said Jang’s an­nounce­ment to re­scind her LPGA Tour mem­ber­ship caught her by sur­prise.

“We are fa­mil­iar and share two spon­sors. She is a ma­ture woman. I think any de­ci­sion that she made was a thought­ful con­sid­er­a­tion,” said Feng.

“No mat­ter what she de­cided I would ex­tend my full sup­port to her. Hope­fully, we still see each other many times in the fu­ture.

“Fam­ily is im­por­tant. Golf is our job and only one part of our life.”

re­bounds and hit a touch jumper in the lane for un­de­feated Dal­las.

“It means the world to me be­cause I’ve been limited on min­utes be­cause of my knee and it kind of held my min­utes down,” said Mot­ley, who av­er­aged seven points for the week. “I got to play a lot to­day and did some re­ally good things.”

Mot­ley was huge for a Mavs team that was miss­ing four its top five scor­ers. The 6-foot-10 post player logged 36 min­utes and im­pressed with his jump­ing abil­ity and ver­sa­til­ity in the paint.

CHRIS­TIAN HART­MANN / REUTERS

A woman on a horse keeps pace with the pelo­ton dur­ing the 216-km sixth stage of the Tour de France from Ve­soul to Troyes on Thurs­day. Ger­man Mar­cel Kit­tel won a sprint fin­ish as Bri­ton Chris Froome re­tained the leader’s yel­low jersey.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

First-round leader Feng Shan­shan, of China, plays a shot dur­ing the first round of Kumho Tire Ladies Open in Wei­hai, Shan­dong prov­ince, on Fri­day.

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