Feng pips Ariya by one stroke to end trophy drought

China's Feng Shanshan imitates taking a "selfie" as she poses with the Thornberry Creek Classic trophy. She beat Thai Ariya Jutanugarn by one shot on Sunday in Oneida, Wisconsin.
China's Feng Shanshan imitates taking a "selfie" as she poses with the Thornberry Creek Classic trophy. She beat Thai Ariya Jutanugarn by one shot on Sunday in Oneida, Wisconsin.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Feng Shanshan scorched her way through the final round of the LPGA Tour's Thornberry Creek Classic on Sunday with a nine-under 63 to beat Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn by one stroke.

China's Feng outduelled Ariya on the back nine, matching her closing birdie putt with one of her own from three feet to claim her first victory in 20 months and the 10th of her career. She rolled in four birdies in her final six holes to reach a 29-under 259 total which was close to what she had targeted at the start of the week.

"I was aiming for 30 under, that was my goal," Feng said. "The last putt was a lot of pressure, but I just told myself to make another good putt."

Former world No. 1 Feng's previous best finish this year was a tie for fourth at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.

Ariya, who was playing in the group in front of Feng, capped her eight-under 64 round with a two-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to draw level with Feng on 28 under and set up a dramatic finish.

"I was walking up the green and I thought I had it, but then I looked up at the scoreboard and realised I have got to make this putt," said Feng, who used a seven iron to hit her approach to just three feet.

Ariya had a three-shot lead at one stage on the back nine until Feng made her move on the soft Thornberry Creek course.

"Overall, my whole week was really good," Ariya said.

"It's like amazing, because I didn't expect to play that good at all, so I'm really happy about how I played."

Feng's 29-under score was two shots shy of the LPGA record that Kim Sei-young set last year at the course just outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

"This is not my last win for sure. I want to win as many as I can," the 29-year-old added.

South Korea's Amy Yang shot a 65 to finish in a tie for third on 25 under with American Tiffany Joh (67).

World No. 1 Park Sung-hyun was tied for the lead with Feng and Ariya heading into the final round, but she failed to make a back-nine charge and settled for a 69 to finish in a tie for sixth with Korean-American teenager Yealimi Noh.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2019, with the headline 'Feng pips Ariya by one stroke to end trophy drought'. Print Edition | Subscribe