Korean star Jang homes in on happiness
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.
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.
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.