NAPLES, Fla. (AP)
The one trouble Shanshan Feng confronted Sunday was determining learn how to gentle the cannon that signaled the tip of the LPGA Tour season.
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She made the golf look easy on the LPGA Titleholders.
Two shots behind going into the ultimate round, the 24-12 months-outdated from China ran off four birdies in the opening six holes to seize management, and she closed with a 6-below-par 66 to win by one shot and declare the richest prize in ladies’s golf.
It also was her second win this year, which meant as much to her because the $700,000 test.
”I had a goal to win two tournaments,” she said. ”I received in China. I did not assume I used to be going to realize my goal, and I made it in my last event in Florida.”
Feng stated her win final month in Beijing required somewhat luck — a shot that took a bizarre and wild bounce out of the rough, raced throughout the inexperienced and crashed into the flagstick to arrange a tap-in eagle.
Sunday was sheer talent.
Feng was in such control of her sport that she missed three birdie probabilities inside 6 feet in the middle of her spherical that saved the result doubtful until the top. Gerina Piller stayed within one shot of Feng, and she hit a 7-iron into 10 ft for a chance at birdie to force a playoff. The putt narrowly missed, and Piller had to settle for a sixty nine and her best end on the LPGA Tour.
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Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand had a 70 and completed alone in third.
Feng completed at 15-beneath 273, the number she had in thoughts initially of the day — even if it didn’t end in a win.
”Earlier than I began, I by no means thought I was going to win,” Feng mentioned. ”I knew I was only two behind. However I thought all of the individuals within the final group had been really robust rivals.”
Nobody was stronger than Feng, who performed the ultimate 31 holes and not using a bogey.
Natalie Gulbis, tied for the fifty four-gap lead with Pornanong and Piller, wasn’t as much as the duty. Going for her first win in six years, Gulbis did not make a birdie until the 14th gap, and by then she could not cease a spectacular slide. Gulbis closed with an eighty two.
Stacy Lewis needed to accept just one prize. The Girls’s British Open champion grew to become the primary American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring common. She had to win to seize the money list, but after an early birdie, Lewis by no means regained any momentum. She closed with a seventy one and tied for sixth.
”As Americans, we hear about that all the time — it’s been 18 years or it’s been 20 years or whatever it is,” Lewis stated. ”I am just glad to have that kind of checked off the list. We’ve got to get American golf on the map. That is been the purpose and I’m simply fortunate I’ve been enjoying good golf.”
Inbee Park, who clinched participant of the 12 months last week in Mexico, had a 68 to complete fifth. She won the LPGA Tour cash title.
The only other award at stake Sunday was rookie of the 12 months. That went to Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand, who closed with a seventy two. She gained by one point over Caroline Masson of Germany.
Feng just stole the present on the ultimate day of the season.
As winner of the CME Group Titleholders, she lit the cannon to sign the top of the 12 months. That proved far tougher than the 7-iron she hit into eight feet for birdie on the fifteenth, or that pitch up the slope on the 17th gap that led to her final birdie.
”I used to be actually nervous,” she stated. ”I do not know the way I did it. As soon as it touched the thing after which it just went out in like a half a second, and I was shocked it released so quick and it was gone already. I used to be really excited.”
As for that paycheck?
Feng says she shouldn’t be a big spender and stated she would put it within the financial institution, maybe purchase herself a small present later.
Piller put up a good combat. She stuffed her method on No. 15 to inside 4 feet for birdie to drag inside one shot. Feng was within the group ahead and went over the green on her second shot into the par-5 seventeenth, after which hit a chip that settled inside tap-in range to achieve 15 beneath. Piller matched her birdie on the 17th with a strong up-and-down from a set space, however she could not get that final birdie to power a playoff.
”I was proud of the way I hit the putt,” Piller mentioned. ”I simply didn’t read sufficient break.”
The win should take Feng to No. four in the world.
Park, who went into a minor stoop after profitable her third straight major at the U.S. Ladies’s Open, closed out her LPGA season with two high 10s. She nonetheless has one event left in Taiwan earlier than taking an extended winter’s break, with plans to go to Australia to prepare for next season.
She received the money title for the second straight season.
”I played higher this 12 months,” Park stated. ”There’s undoubtedly room to improve for subsequent yr and I in all probability have slightly more pressure on me next 12 months, but I believe I have a lot of pressure this 12 months, anyways. Slightly bit more doesn’t really make a difference for me.”