Golf: New world No. 1 Feng Shanshan wants to lead the way for Chinese hopefuls

Feng triumphed on home soil in Hainan Island to claim a second successive LPGA Tour victory.
Feng triumphed on home soil in Hainan Island to claim a second successive LPGA Tour victory.PHOTO: AFP

Shanghai (AFP) - Feng Shanshan hopes to inspire a generation of Chinese golfers after becoming the first player from China to reach world No. 1.

No man or woman from China had ever sat atop the golf rankings, but that changed on Saturday (Nov 11) when the 28-year-old triumphed on home soil in Hainan Island to claim a second successive LPGA Tour victory.

Her ascension to No. 1 was confirmed this week, underlining China's growing influence in a sport that was banned under Mao Zedong.

"It's the longest day in my life to wait for the update of the world ranking," Feng told LPGA.com.

"When I finally see the Chinese flag on top of the ranking, I feel all the efforts over the past 18 years on golf is worth it.

"I really enjoy the moment and hopefully, this could encourage a younger generation in China to go for this sport."

Feng's nervy one-shot Blue Bay LPGA victory followed her successful defence of the Japan Classic title a week earlier.

The title win propelled her from No. 3 in the world to top spot at the expense of South Korean rookie Park Sung Hyun, who held the honour for just one week.

Feng, the 2016 Rio Games bronze medallist, now boasts nine LPGA Tour victories, one of them a Major.

She is the fifth player to hold the No. 1 place in 2017, following New Zealand's Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, Ryu So Yeon of South Korea and her compatriot Park.