KITAHIROSHIMA, HOKKAIDO – Feng Shanshan celebrated her 23rd birthday in style on Sunday by winning the Meiji Cup in a three-way playoff for her second tour title this season.
Feng, who won the U.S. LPGA Championship in June, made up a four-stroke deficit with a 5-under-par, final-round 67 to pull even with Shinobu Moromizato and overnight leader Ahn Sun Ju at 7-under-par-209 after 54 holes at the Sapporo Kokusai Country Club. Feng won the playoff, contested only on the par-5 18th, by sinking a 40-foot eagle putt on the fourth extra hole.
“I’m really happy to be able to win on my birthday,” said Feng, who also won the Yonex Ladies in May.
Having sprained her right ankle during the pro-am, Feng wasn’t certain she would be able to take part in the tournament at all.
“I was really happy just to think I might finish among the top 10,” said Feng, who moved up to eighth in the money rankings despite playing just six tournaments in Japan this season.
Moromizato, in the hunt for her first title on tour since she won six times in 2009, started the day two strokes back of Ahn and birdied three of her first six holes to briefly sit atop the leaderboard.
Despite not even being in contention for a title in over a year, Moromizato showed little emotion when her quest ended with a missed birdie putt on the first playoff hole.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this kind of excitement. I was calmer than I thought I would be,” she said.
Yuri Fudo finished a stroke back of the leading trio after she bogeyed the par-4 16th.
The playoff was the fourth of Feng’s career, but her first to go to four holes.
“I was exhausted,” she said. “I just wanted it to be over.”