Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meiji Chocolate Cup Sunday: Shanshan Feng Breaks Through on JLPGA

Shanshan Feng broke through today for her 1st big win as a professional by prevailing over a former JLPGA money-list title-holder and an up-and-coming Korean golfer in the final round of the Meiji Chocolate Cup. Down 2 at the start of the day, she started off cold with a bogey on the par-3 2nd to fall 3 behind Eun-Bi Jang and remain 2 behind Miho Koga after 6 holes. But then she bounced back with a 3-hole birdie barrage that Koga couldn't match and Jang could respond to only with a corresponding birdie on the short par-5 9th, so at the turn Jang lead Feng by 1 and Koga by 2. 3 holes later, though, and the players were in a dead heat at -12, as Jang went bogey-birdie-par, Feng went par-par-birdie, and Koga went par-birdie-birdie. Feng put pressure on her playing partners by birdieing 2 of her next 3 holes and took a 1-shot lead onto the 16th tee when they could only respond with a single birdie each. And she kept it up by parring out as they each made 2 bogeys in a row, so even though they both birdied the par-5 18th, it was too little, too late to stop Feng, who ended up being the only player in the field to break 70 all 3 rounds. Her 67 made Chie Arimura's 9-birdie 64 moot and gave her her 1st win on the JLPGA in only her 2nd start as a member.

Here's how the leaders and notables ended up; as you can see, a lot of big names on the JLPGA played very good golf this week, but they needed to play great to beat Feng.

1st/-14 Shanshan Feng (68-67-67)
T2/-12 Eun-Bi Jang (68-65-71), Miho Koga (63-70-71)
4th/-11 Chie Arimura (68-73-64)
T5/-10 Soo-Yun Kang (68-70-68), Eun-A Lim (69-67-70)
T7/-9 Mayu Hattori (69-71-67), Rui Kitada (69-70-68), Miki Uehara (69-68-70)
T10/-8 Miki Saiki (71-70-67), Kumiko Kaneda (70-71-67), Hyun-Ju Shin (67-72-69), Shiho Oyama (71-67-70)

T14/-7 Bo-Bae Song (71-69-69), Bo-Mee Lee (71-68-70)
T16/-6 Maiko Wakabayashi (72-70-68), Rikako Morita (72-68-70), Esther Lee (71-69-70), Harukyo Nomura (70-69-71), Yuri Fudoh (69-70-71), Nachiyo Ohtani (68-69-73)
T23/-5 Ji-Hee Lee (72-70-69), Ji-Woo Lee (72-70-69), Mika Takushima (70-70-71), Ji-Na Lim (74-64-73)
T29/-4 Tamie Durdin (70-72-70), Kaori Aoyama (74-67-71), Asako Fujimoto (72-68-72), Erika Kikuchi (69-68-75)
T34/-3 Saiki Fujita (75-68), Aoi Nagata (73-70-70), Ritsuko Ryu (72-71-70), So-Hee Kim (72-71-70), Na-Ri Lee (72-69-72), Yuki Ichinose (67-71-75)
T41/-2 Li-Ying Ye (69-73-72), Ah-Reum Hwang (68-72-74)
T45/-1 Akane Iijima (75-67-73), Mi-Jeong Jeon (72-70-73), Onnarin Sattayabanphot (70-69-76)
T50/E Junko Omote (69-74-73)
T52/+1 Megumi Kido (70-72-75)
T54/+2 Yun-Jye Wei (73-70-75), Aiko Ueno (70-73-75)

For Feng, who turned 22 on Friday, this win was the best birthday gift she could have given herself. Although she was runner-up in last year's Q-School to fellow LPGAer Hee Young Park, Feng hadn't returned to Japan since barely making the top 20 in the JLPGA's season opener. Now she's moved way up their money list and just needs to play in 5 more events on tour to secure membership there for next season.

1. Sun-Ju Ahn ¥54.42M
2. Miki Saiki ¥52.62M
3. Ji-Hee Lee ¥49.80M
4. Sakura Yokomine ¥46.24M
5. Chie Arimura ¥43.90M
6. Yuri Fudoh ¥36.32M
7. Hiromi Mogi ¥28.84M
8. Rui Kitada ¥27.71M
9. Ayako Uehara ¥25.81M
10. Inbee Park ¥24.33M
11. Kumiko Kaneda ¥22.32M
12. Bo-Bae Song ¥19.72M
13. Mayu Hattori ¥17.17M
14. Yukari Baba ¥17.00M
15. Shanshan Feng ¥16.99M
16. Saiki Fujita ¥15.56M
17. Ji-Woo Lee ¥14.92M
18. Mi-Jeong Jeon ¥14.54M
19. Bo-Mee Lee ¥14.09M
20. Shinobu Moromizato ¥13.93M
21. Teresa Lu ¥13.83M
22. Momoko Ueda ¥13.77M
23. Hyun-Ju Shin ¥13.72M
24. Ritsuko Ryu ¥13.43M
25. Eun-A Lim ¥13.21M
26. Ah-Reum Hwang ¥12.92M
27. Asako Fujimoto ¥12.86M
28. Junko Omote ¥12.85M
29. Rikako Morita ¥12.74M
30. Na-Ri Lee ¥12.38M
31. Eun-Bi Jang ¥11.65M
32. Young Kim ¥11.54M
33. Soo-Yun Kang ¥11.09M
34. Kaori Aoyama ¥10.82M
35. Ji-Yai Shin ¥10.67M
36. Shiho Oyama ¥10.57M
37. Miho Koga ¥10.41M
38. Esther Lee ¥10.38M
39. Mie Nakata ¥10.25M
40. So-Hee Kim ¥10.09M
41. Akane Iijima ¥10.04M
42. Nikki Campbell ¥9.87M
43. Yumiko Yoshida ¥9.65M
44. Yeo-Jin Kang ¥8.70M
45. Yuki Ichinose ¥8.16M
46. Akiko Fukushima ¥8.01M
47. Megumi Kido ¥7.92M
48. Satsuki Oshiro ¥7.77M
49. Miki Sakai ¥7.48M
50. Na-Ri Kim ¥6.87M

Next up is the NEC Karuizawa 72 Ladies, where Ji-Hee Lee will attempt to defend her 2010 title and reach #1 on the 2011 money list next week. With Ji-Yai Shin, Momoko Ueda, Sun-Ju Ahn, and Sakura Yokomine in the field, this won't be the easiest thing in the world to accomplish. From a quick look at the field list, it looks like Shanshan Feng and Inbee Park will be returning to the States to prepare for the Safeway Classic the following week. This will be Shin's 4th event of the 7 she needs to keep her JLPGA membership for 2012. Let's see how she does!

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