Sports / Golf

Feng plots her future with eye on Olympics

By Tym Glaser in Haikou, Hainan province (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-09 07:52

Feng plots her future with eye on Olympics

Suzann Pettersen of Norway joins China's Feng Shanshan in posing in traditional martial art costumes at the opening of the HSBC Women's Championships on Feb 25 in Singapore. Roslan Rahman / Agence France-Presse

China's top female golfer aiming for Rio

Feng Shanshan has lined up her goals for the future the same way she would line up a tricky putt: with great thought, care and resolve.

The first golfer from the Chinese mainland to play professionally on the LPGA Tour (2008) and the first to snare a major title with her win at the 2012 LPGA Championship has methodically made her way to the top of the women's game and is currently ranked No 7 in the world - and her determination shows no sign of abating.

"My goal is to win three tournaments on the LPGA Tour this year," the 24-year-old from Guangzhou said after her second round at the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills Haikou. "A win on the LPGA is a win but, of course, a major would be better."

But that is just the first duck in the line. The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are also on her mind, even though those Games are still more than two years away.

China announced a provisional women's Olympic squad on Thursday and Feng - also known as Jenny - is the only player on the list who would make the Games if they started today.

"Of course I think about the Olympics; I really want to play in Rio, but it will depend on world ranking. The Games are still a little over two years away, so the ranking right now doesn't matter. I feel in good shape and I want to make it, but if I don't I hope some other Chinese girls do. I will try my best and see what happens."

Despite starting her eighth year on the pro circuit, her journey seems to have just begun. But one day the path will end and another will have to be embarked upon.

No problem. Feng has that little duck covered too.

"I will stay in the golf business and open my academy in Guangzhou and then maybe I will be a coach, but I will definitely do something for golf."

While she seems unflappable on the course, the winner of 10 pro titles - including three LPGA Tour events - claims she feels pressure from the expectations of fans.

"Of course I feel a little pressure from outside," she said. "Especially when I am playing here in China, but I realize I am in this position (as the nation's No 1 player) and I have learned how to handle it."

To alleviate the pressure and also break the monotony of the Tour, Feng has become quite adept at another "skill".

"I play a lot of computer games," she said.

"I play very small games with friends. I was really into Flappy Bird until recently, and I think I am pretty good.

"I also like to watch movies and dramas, but the computer games are my favorites."

Young-at-heart Feng is basically regarded as the grand dame of Chinese women's golf and her pioneering exploits have inspired the next wave of young players, which includes teenage amateur Yan Jing, who was grouped with her during the first two rounds of the Championship around the intimidating par-73 Blackstone Course, which measures 7,808 yards.

"I have played with her four times now and I have always tried to learn something from her each time," said Yan, who was also named to the provisional Olympic squad.

"She talks to me and encourages me and there is much to learn from her."

For now, though, there's a yawning gap between Feng and the rest of China's female players. Their goal should be to catch up - because her goals have already been set.

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