Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Sunday: Shanshan Feng Engineers 4-Shot Swing on Pornanong Phatlum for 4th Win of Her LPGA Career

Shanshan Feng birdied 4 holes in a row early on the back to tie Pornanong Phatlum at -16 late in the final round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, then eagled the par-5 16th even as Phatlum was double bogeying the par-3 15th after pulling her tee shot into the water over the narrow green.  That 4-shot swing proved to be too much for the Thai star to come back from, although she did birdie the 16th to finish in solo 2nd.

Feng's final-round 63 got her to -18 for the week, 3 shots ahead of Phatlum and 4 ahead of another 63 shooter, Pernilla Lindberg, who made 4 birdies in a row on both sides today to catch So Yeon Ryu and Chella Choi in a tie for 3rd.  The 2 Korean stars couldn't join Hyo Joo Kim and Sun-Ju Ahn in the winner's circle (the KLPGA major Kim won was her 4th KLPGA victory of the season, while Ahn's was #4 on the JLPGA in 2014) in part because of disasters late on moving day, but mostly because they couldn't keep pace with Feng's stretch run.  But they shouldn't feel too bad, as a host of golfers played well enough to win this week but couldn't do what it took to hoist the trophy at the end of the day.  At one point, last week's winner Mirim Lee looked like she would be the one to challenge Phatlum down the home stretch, but a bogey on 13 and a double on 15 dropped her out of contention.  Ilhee Lee had it going on, as well, but a double on 10 and a bogey on 13 were too much to overcome, even by an eagle on 16.  Na Yeon Choi made 6 birdies in a 9-hole stretch midway through her round, but it was too little, too late in the end.

Nobody could stop Feng from racking up her 4th LPGA title and 3rd to come at the end of a season (she got 2 in her last 4 starts last season).  It was just a phenomenal performance by a player who should be underrated no longer.  Let's see if she can keep it going next week in Korea.  And let's see if Inbee Park and her bridesmaids come out swinging after her wedding tomorrow!

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