Feng Wins Second-Straight TOTO Japan Classic

Shanshan Feng posted a final-round 4-under-par 68 on Sunday to capture her second straight TOTO Japan Classic title.

Feng, 28, becomes the season’s first player to successfully defend a 2016 LPGA title, and the eighth player this year with multiple victories.

“That was my goal, before I started the week, to defend my title. 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.’ I was like, OK, let’s go for it,” said Feng. “Here I am, and I’m really happy.”

Feng got off to a sluggish start on Sunday, bogeying two of the first three holes at Taiheiyo Club’s Minori Course.

But the Chinese star settled down nicely, and went bogey free over her final 15 holes, highlighted by five birdies to finish at 19 under, two shots clear of runner-up Ai Suzuki.

“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. I’m very honored and happy to play well in Asia, as an Asian.”

In her last three starts in Asia, Feng has finishes of T3 (Swinging Skirts) and T2 (Sime Darby), to go along withe her victory in Japan.

Afterwards, she joked, “Can we just keep playing here? Can we move the CME Group Tour Championship here? Can we move the U.S. Open here? Can we move everything over to Asia? As an Asian, I’m very honored and happy to play well in Asia. I love coming back to see all the fans, and of course all the Asian food and culture. I’m really happy.”

Suzuki (68) finished solo second at 17 under, but made a valiant effort down the stretch.

The young Japanese star found herself down three after 13 holes, but caught fire with birdies on 14, 16 and 17 to cut the lead to just one shot, heading to No. 18.

A par by Feng, coupled with a Suzuki bogey, ended the drama, but the appreciative Japanese golf fans stood on their feet for both the champ and the hometown hero.

“It was good three days, that I was able to keep my motivation high. Shanshan made some good putt, where she has to make. But I never gave up until the last hole,” said Suzuki. “Mentally and technically I really learned lots this week. I need more putting practice for three more tournament that I am going to play here in Japan.”

Anna Nordqvist fired a 6-under-par 66, highlighted by a hole-in-one on the par-3 3rd, to finish solo third at 15 under. Along with her two victories in 2017, this marks the Swede’s sixth top-10 finish.

Lizette Salas signed for a 4-under 68 and finished alone in fourth at 13 under. The suddenly-hot American now has four top-5 results in her last five starts.

A group of seven golfers finished at 12 under par and T5, headlined by former No. 1 Lydia Ko, who recorded her fourth top-5 in her last seven events.


FENG’S FINAL-ROUND SCORECARD


FINAL TOP 10

1 Shanshan Feng -19
2 Ai Suzuki -17
3 Anna Nordqvist -15
4 Lizette Salas -13
5 Mi Hyang Lee -12
5 Moriya Jutanugarn -12
5 Sarah Jane Smith -12
5 Minjee Lee -12
5 Mamiko Higa -12
5 Lydia Ko -12
5 Ayaka Watanabe -12


WIRE TO WIRE FOR FENG

  • Round 1: 66 (-6), T1
  • Round 2: 63 (-15), 1
  • Round 3: 68 (-19), 1

COVERAGE: OPENING ROUNDS


FINAL ROUND HIGHLIGHTS


QUOTABLE: TOTO JAPAN CLASSIC

“In my heart, I was trying to win this week. And I’ve done it.”
Shanshan Feng, 2016 & 2017 TOTO Japan Classic Champion


FINAL SCORES: TOTO JAPAN CLASSIC

1Shanshan Feng-19
2Ai Suzuki-17
3Anna Nordqvist-15
4Lizette Salas-13
5Moriya Jutanugarn-12
5Sarah Jane Smith-12
5Mi Hyang Lee-12
5Minjee Lee-12
5Mamiko Higa-12
5Lydia Ko-12
5Ayaka Watanabe-12
12Serena Aoki-11
12Sei Young Kim-11
12Charley Hull-11
15In Gee Chun-10
15Angel Yin-10
15Jiyai Shin-10
15Saki Takeo-10
15Jane Park-10
15Teresa Lu-10
15Pei-Ying Tsai-10
15Stacy Lewis-10
15Min-Young Lee-10
24Sun-Ju Ahn-9
24Chae-Young Yoon-9
24Yukari Nishiyama-9
24Momoko Ueda-9
28H. Morita-WanyaoLu-8
28Megan Khang-8
28Jeong Eun Lee-8
28Caroline Masson-8
28Saiki Fujita-8
33Marina Alex-7
33Shoko Sasaki-7
33Lexi Thompson-7
33Jodi Ewart Shadoff-7
33Ritsuko Ryu-7
33Eri Okayama-7
33Nasa Hataoka-7
33Brittany Altomare-7
33So Yeon Ryu-7
42Austin Ernst-6
42Brooke M. Henderson-6
42Chella Choi-6
42Karine Icher-6
46Kana Mikashima-5
46Misuzu Narita-5
46Hee-Kyung Bae-5
46Michelle Wie-5
46Rie Tsuji-5
46Eun-Hee Ji-5
52Suzann Pettersen-4
52Angela Stanford-4
52Fumika Kawagishi-4
52Haru Nomura-4
52Soo-Yun Kang-4
52Kana Nagai-4
52Jacqui Concolino-4
52Asako Fujimoto-4
52Asuka Kashiwabara-4
52Jenny Shin-4
62Jennifer Song-3
62Jessica Korda-3
64Pornanong Phatlum-2
64Hyo Joo Kim-2
66Ji-Hee Lee-1
67Lala AnaiE
67Kotone HoriE
67Erika KikuchiE
70Ariya Jutanugarn1
71Candie Kung2
72Su Oh3
72Mi Jung Hur3
74Rumi Yoshiba4
74Yumiko Yoshida4
76Miyu Shinkai6
WDDanielle KangE

Credit: LPGA Communications, Getty Images


Jeff Smith

Jeff is a Producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is producing a digital documentary on the 2016-17 PGA Tour season.



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