Mon, Nov 06, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Feng fires 68 to win Japan Classic


Defending champion Feng Shanshan of China fired a four-under 68 yesterday to win the Japan Classic by two strokes.

Feng recovered from two bogeys on the first three holes with six birdies to finish at 19-under 197, two shots ahead of Japan’s Ai Suzuki, who also shot a 68.

Feng became the first golfer on the LPGA Tour to defend a title this year and claimed her second victory of the year, having captured the LPGA Volvik Championship in May.

“That was my goal before I started the week, to defend my title,” Feng said. “My caddie told me: ‘This week, you’re going to be first. Two weeks ago, you finished third. Last week, you finished second, so you know what comes after that. First.’”

Suzuki had a chance to overtake Feng through the back nine, but any time Suzuki made a birdie, Feng would answer with one of her own. She could not capitalize on opportunities and a final-hole bogey sealed the win for Feng.

“Her ball striking is so good. She left herself so many birdie chances and I was freaked out,” Feng said of Suzuki. “Before I started the round, I told myself to not look at the other scores and just go to 21-under par. I played very well.”

Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist had a hole-in-one on the par-three third hole and added five birdies against a lone bogey for a 66 to finish in third place at 15-under 201.

Lizette Salas was fourth after finishing with a 68.

Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko was among a group of seven golfers tied for fifth place after firing a 68 that included five birdies and a bogey on the final hole.

World No. 1 Ryu So-yeon had a 73 in the final round and said she would be taking next week off to rehab her shoulder as she makes a push for Player of the Year.

With Ryu’s 33rd placement yesterday, fellow South Korean Park Sung-hyun is projected to take over the women’s world No. 1 ranking.

US Women’s Open champion Park did not play the LPGA event, but Ryu had to finish no worse than sixth to stay in top spot, according to the projection.

“I didn’t know that,” Ryu said when told she was no longer No. 1.

“I don’t really care about it. It’s just a title. It’s great to be No. 1 of course, but the more important thing is how I’m playing for the present,” she said.

The top Taiwanese finishers were Teresa Lu and Tsai Pei-ying, both with 10-under 206 for 15th place. Candie Kung settled in 71st place with two-over 218.

Additional reporting by Reuters and staff writer

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