KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Shanshan Feng won the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia on Sunday to cap a string of high finishes that started with an Olympic bronze medal.
The 27-year-old Chinese star beat Suzann Pettersen by three strokes at TPC Kuala Lumpur for her second victory in the event.
“Every time I come back here, it makes me feel like I’m at home,” Feng said. “I’m really relaxed and I love everything, love the food, love the people.”
She shot a 4-under 67 after finishing off a third-round 64 in the morning.
“Normally, I’m a pretty good ball-striker,” Feng said. “They have some very tough greens here that we have to be more accurate, and I think that’s good for me. And also, somehow, I always read the greens here very well. So this week, I made a lot of putts.”
Feng has finished no worse than a tie for fourth in her last six events. After Rio, she tied for fourth at Evian in France, then opened the Asia Swing in China with a fourth-place tie at Reignwood, was second in Taiwan and tied for third in South Korea.
“I started to actually get my confidence back,” said Feng, China’s only major golf champion.
Feng has an even better run going at TPC Kuala Lumpur. She was second in 2013, won in 2014 and tied for second last year. She won for the fifth time on the LPGA Tour, ending a drought that dated to her 2014 victory.
“Can I actually join the membership here?” Feng said during the trophy ceremony. “I really love this golf course. Can we have like 10 LPGA events here on this course?”
Tied with Anna Nordqvist after the Swede’s tap-in birdie on the par-4 13th, Feng regained the lead with a sweeping 18-foot birdie putt on the par-4 14th. She added a downhill 15-footer on the par-3 15th, and had a three-stroke lead moments later when Nordqvist three-putted the 14th.
On Thursday, Feng made doubles bogeys on 14 and 15 in an opening 66. She birdied both holes in the third round. “It actually evened out,” Feng said.
She finished at 17-under 267 and earned $270,000 — more than enough for victory celebration she’s planning before tournament next week in Japan.
“I love Japanese food,” Feng said. “I think I’m going to go for maybe — like normally I go to the second-most expensive meat — I’ll go for the meat. What I’m going to do is I’m going to go for the most expensive meat next week.”
Pettersen shot her second straight 66. The Norwegian with 15 tour victories bogeyed the 16th and birdied the last two. On Saturday, she had a double bogey on 15.
“I’ve had some stupid mistakes, probably like everyone else and giving away a lot of shots,” Pettersen said. “Felt like yesterday I gave away a great chance of winning this.”
Nordqvist had a 70, hitting into the water on the par-4 18th for a double bogey that dropped her into a tie for third with Amy Yang (69) at 12 under.
“Played so well this week,” Nordqvist said. “Finishing with double was obviously not what I planned. I was in-between clubs on the last hole and it was kind of gusting out and we were going back and forth. Pretty poor decision there.”
A stroke ahead of Nordqvist on Saturday when darkness stopped play, Feng returned to par the 18th and took a two-stroke lead into the final round when Nordqvist closed with a bogey.
The players remained in their third-round groups for the final round in the event that fell behind Saturday when lightning and rain forced a 4 1/2-hour delay. Feng was in the third-to-last threesome, three groups behind Pettersen and a group ahead of Nordqvist.
Top-ranked Lydia Ko shot a 71 — making a double bogey on 15 and a bogey on 18 — to tie for 12th at 8 under. Malaysia’s Sargunan Suntharaj caddied for the New Zealander in her first tournament since firing Jason Hamilton.
“It was a lot of fun working with Guna,” Ko said. “I think a lot of people came out to not only watch me play but see him in action, too. It was really good, and obviously all the best to him when he goes back to his player.”
Hamilton immediately teamed with Ha Na Jang, a three-time winner this year who also finished at 8 under. The South Korean player shot a 72. She birdied four of the first six, bogeyed five of the next six, and parred the last six.
Pernilla Lindberg had a hole-in-one one on 147-yard 17th, using a 7-iron into the breeze. The Swede shot a 71 to tie for 33rd at 2 under.
“The previous par 3, 15, I kind of chunked it in the water and made a double,” Lindberg said. “So, I guess this was a good recovery to kind of save the day and save the score.
Michelle Wie finished the third round with a quadruple-bogey 8 for a 73, and shot a 71 in the fourth to tie for 27th at 4 under.
The tournament was played on TPC Kuala Lumpur’s East Course, a week after Justin Thomas successfully defended his title on the West Course in the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic.
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