“Jenny Money” is showing why she has one of the best nicknames in the LPGA ranks.
Shanshan Feng didn’t just put herself in position Saturday to win back-to-back starts for the first time in her professional career, she put herself in position for a crack at the $1 million CME Globe jackpot up for grabs in the season finale in Naples, Fla., in two weeks.
With a bogey-free 7-under-par 64, Feng moved to the top of the leaderboard at the Toto Japan Classic. At 11 under overall, she’s one shot ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn (68).
The red hot Feng has not finished worse than a tie for tie for fourth in her last six starts, dating back to her bronze medal performance in the Olympics.
“Right now my confidence level is pretty high,” Feng said.
Jutanugarn is seeking to win her sixth LPGA title this year, which would equal the most in a season since Inbee Park won six in 2013.
Feng is 11th in the Race to the CME Globe standings. She needs to crack the top nine going to the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship to have any chance at the $1 million prize that goes to the winner of the season-long competition. If Feng wins in Japan, she could move as high as No. 4 in the CME Globe standings. The top three going to Naples are guaranteed to win the $1 million prize if they win the CME Group Tour Championship.
Though Feng has won 16 times around the world, she has never won back-to-back starts.
“It will be great if it happens, but right now I’m not thinking about it,” Feng said. “I’m just going to try to enjoy tomorrow.”
Feng, 27, won five times playing the Japan LPGA Tour in 2011 and ’12. She’s known for valuing quality over quantity of practice time and took Monday and Tuesday off after winning the Sime Darby Malaysia last week.
“I went to Tokyo to my favorite restaurants, and I went shopping,” she said.
Feng said she treated herself to a couple expensive handbags as a reward for her Malaysia victory.
“I think it’s why I have to try hard on the weekend, to make the money back,” Feng cracked.