World No. 3 Feng Shanshan said Tuesday that she is looking for a strong finish to the U.S. LPGA Tour season when the Blue Bay LPGA tees off in Hainan Island tomorrow.
With a history of slow starts and strong finishes in her 10 seasons playing stateside, the big-hitting Chinese No. 1 is coming into Hainan fresh off of her second victory of the year after successfully defending her Toto Japan Classic title on Sunday with a two-shot victory in Ibaraki.
As this week's 2.1 million U.S. dollars tournament at Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club is the second-to-last tournament of the season, the 28-year-old Guangdong native said it was important to maintain the momentum that has helped her to 22 wins since turning pro in 2007.
"I got some changes these years. I got a lot of top 10s and top fives but few No.1s in events before. But at the end of last year I said to myself that in trying to be the champion, if there are any chances I must try my best until the last minute," said Feng, a bronze medalist at last year's Rio Olympics. "Because of the changes I got four championships from last year. This is a good change, I will keep going on."
With next week's CME Group Tour Championship closing out the US LPGA Tour season, Feng said after the Florida finale it would be time for a break.
"Because there will be no event for me for two months in winter, I used to not touch golf clubs for five weeks. I'm really tired after the whole season so it's necessary to get away from golf for some time. Then I will come back to practice two or three weeks before next season. The beginning of the season I am still finding my good condition, with time going on I gradually will be in my best condition at the end of a year."
Feng will have to be at her best this week as she will tee off in a group that includes defending champion Lee Min-jee of South Korea and Lee's compatriot Park Sung-hyun, the new world No. 1 as of Tuesday. The 24-year-old, a 10-time winner in South Korea, is the first U.S. LPGA Tour rookie to hold the top spot after posting seven top-five finishes, including winning national Open titles in the US and Canada over the summer.
"I actually just found out this morning that I became the No. 1," said Park who just replaced compatriot Ryu So-yeon at the top of the Rolex World Ranking. "I have this week and next week. With just two tournaments left for the LPGA Tour, my goal is to have a good end to this season. Everybody knows it's really difficult to become the No.1 and a more difficult thing is to maintain this position. I will keep going and do my best."
Others in this week's field at the JMP Golf Design layout include 20 players from the China LPGA Tour.