|Shanshan Feng (Titleist.com)|
THE 2013 WEGMANS LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP tees off on Thursday at Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford, New York. The second longest-running tournament in LPGA history, the LPGA Championship began in 1955 and is the second of five majors on the ladies tour. Last year’s champion Shanshan Feng was the first Chinese player to win on the LPGA Tour.
LPGA.com reported on Feng’s chances of repeating and her influence in China:
Feng looked to put herself on a good track for her title defense following a strong performance at last week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer. The 23-year-old carried a three-shot lead into Sunday’s final round and despite a disappointing 4-over 75 on the final day of the event, she still managed to finish runner-up, her best finish so far in 2013.
Feng’s major victory in 2012 made an immediate impact on her home country of 1.3 billion people. For the first time in her career, Feng was nominated for an award that honors the top Chinese athlete in a non-Olympic sport, and she won it. With golf set to be a part of the Olympics in 2016 and the success of 14-year-old Guan Tianlang, who is from the same hometown as Feng, the expectation is that the interest in the sport will only grow in China.
Feng downplayed her fame in her native land in a story at SuperSport.com.
“Yani’s like a rock star in Taiwan. It’s like Ai Miyazato in Japan,” she said. “Me, in China, well, I think I still can have a hamburger in my hand and a Coke in my hand and eat on the street and nobody would recognize me.”
The year’s second major has a storied history. LPGA greats who have won the LPGA Championship include Mickey Wright (1963), Kathy Whitworth (1967, 1971, 1975), Nancy Lopez (1978, 1985, 1989), Patty Sheehan (1983, 1984, 1993) and Annika Sorenstam (2003, 2004, 2005). Yani Tseng won in 2011; Cristie Kerr was the 2010 champion.
A strong field will compete at Locust Hill, including 23 of the top 25 ranked women in the world and the top 50 players on the LPGA Official Money List.
Wegmans LPGA Championship
Locust Hill Country Club
Pittsford, New York
Defending champion: Shanshan Feng
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Par: 35-37, 72
Golf Channel (all times Eastern)
June 6 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
June 7 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
June 8 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
June 9 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.