Sports / Golf

Olympic bronze medal a huge boost for Feng

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily) Updated: 2016-10-01 08:10

Despite a flat start to the 2016 season, Chinese golf star Feng Shanshan looks set to finish the year strong thanks to the confidence she regained through her medal-winning Rio Olympic campaign.

Feng, who became the first golfer from the Chinese mainland to win a major title at the 2012 Ladies Professional Golf Association Championship, has cemented her status as her country's golfing trailblazer after winning a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

The tournament in Rio was the first time golf had returned to the Olympic program for 112 years. Feng's podium finish has resulted in a surge of attention in the sport in China that is comparable to that of her LPGA win in 2012.

"It's really a unique experience for golf to be broadcast live on public channels together with other mainstream Olympic sports in China for more people to understand it and learn to enjoy it," said Feng, who was welcomed by a huge crowd of fans and media upon landing in her home city of Guangzhou after the Olympics.

"The Olympics also provided a chance for China's top golfers to be known by the world and their own people at home, and to prove that the Chinese can be competitive in the sport as well."

Olympic bronze medal a huge boost for Feng


Riding on the momentum of her Olympic breakout, Feng finished in fourth place at the 2016 Evian Championship, the last of the five annual women's major events, in France on Sept 18.

It was Feng's best result at a major event this year after she struggled to maintain top-level consistency on the LPGA Tour in the first half of the season.

Her best pre-Olympics performance was a fifth-place finish at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout in April.

"Before the Olympics, I wasn't as confident as I used to be because I didn't perform very well on the tour. The result in Rio really encouraged me and helped me to regain the hunger and confidence to compete more fiercely against the younger generation," said the 27-year-old, who turned pro in 2008.

"The fourth place at the Evian Championship built upon that to further boost my moral. Now I feel fresh and I know I have space to improve technically. Hopefully, I can finish the remainder of 2016 with at least one title on the LPGA Tour."

Feng's year-end revival campaign has swung back into action at the 2016 Reignwood LPGA Classic, her first tournament on home soil after the Olympics, which runs from Thursday to Sunday at Beijing's Pine Valley Golf Club with Asia's largest total purse of $2.1 million for the women's competition.

After two days of competition, Feng was third at 8-under-par 133, only one shot off the joint-leaders Brooke Henderson Canada and Hur Mi-jung of South Korea, to stay on track in the title race at the 72-hole no-cut tournament.

"I hope I can put on my best performance in front of the home crowd to get more people interested in golf. Anyway, I don't want to stay as the best golfer from China forever. Hopefully, the younger generation can come up and outplay my achievements as quickly as possible," said Feng, who won the inaugural Reignwood Classic in 2013.

 Olympic bronze medal a huge boost for Feng

Feng Shanshan of China, Rio Olympic bronze medalist, tracks her shot during the Evian Championship last month.File Photo

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