Feng reflects on Wegmans LPGA win, golf in China


PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Shanshan Feng looked at the Wegmans LPGA Championship trophy on the stage in the Locust Hill Country Club media center Tuesday and marveled.

When she last saw it last year, her name hadn’t yet been inscribed on it. It’s no traveling trophy. Players wanting to take it home have to have a replica made.

“I feel honored to have my name on that trophy,” Feng said.

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As the first player from mainland China to win a major championship, Feng’s popularity soared in her homeland, but not to the extent other Asian women enjoy in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Even with 14-year-old Guan Tianlang’s success in PGA Tour events this year, golf remains an emerging sport in China.

Yani Tseng’s like a rock star in Taiwan, like Ai Miyazato in Japan,” said Feng, 23. “Me, in China, I can still have a hamburger and Coke in my hand and eat on the street and nobody would recognize me.”

Feng was celebrated in her triumphant return to China last year. She also was voted as that country’s best non-Olympic athlete in 2012.

Both Feng and Guan grew up in Guangzhou.

“I watched him when I started playing golf,” Feng said. “It’s just amazing now that he’s playing that well. I’m happy to see that happen because now we have so many young, good players that are coming up, not only ladies, but also boys. I think maybe, not 2016, but 2020, China will become one of the most competitive countries in golf.”