Pittsford, NY – Shanshan Feng made history on Sunday as she broke through a crowded leaderboard and won the LPGA Championship.
Feng's final-round five-under 67 was the low round of the week and got her into the clubhouse at six-under-par 282. Several players had a chance to force a playoff, but were unable to.
When then final twosome, Karrie Webb and Eun Hee Ji, failed to hole out from the fairway for eagle at the last, the title was Feng's.
Feng became the first golfer, male or female, from mainland China to win a major championship. She was also the first player from mainland China to win an LPGA Tour event.
"I'm just so excited right now. I did it. It was my goal earlier this year to win a tournament on the LPGA, and another goal was to have a top-10 in a major, so I did both together," Feng said in a televised interview.
"It means a lot for me because this is my fifth year on tour and before last year, I hadn't won since I turned pro. I was down and even thinking, 'can I win again?' Then, I won twice on the Japanese Tour last year. It helped a lot. It gave me more confidence."
Ji, the third-round leader scrambled to an even-par 72 at Locust Hill Country Club to share second place at minus-four. She was joined there by 2007 champ Suzann Pettersen (70), Stacy Lewis (70) and Mika Miyazato (69).
Webb, the 2001 champion, shot even-par 72 to end alongside Ai Miyazato (68) and Gerina Piller (68).
Feng, who won on the Ladies European Tour and the Japan LPGA Tour earlier this year, was three off the pace to start the round. She started her steady climb up the leaderboard with a birdie on the second.
The 22-year-old birdied the sixth to get within one. Her third birdie of the day at the par-five eighth gave Feng a piece of the lead at minus-four.
Feng parred three in a row around the turn. She poured in a 12-foot birdie effort at the 12th to take the lead. As she parred the next four holes, Piller joined Feng in the lead.
However, Piller made a mess of the 17th to tumble down the leaderboard.
Feng found sand off the tee on the par-five 17th. She laid up into the fairway with her second, then dropped her third within eight feet. Feng drained that putt for birdie and a two-stroke lead.
She found the fairway off the tee at the last, then knocked her second onto the back fringe. Feng chipped within three feet and calmly sank the putt.
Feng headed to the range to stay loose just in case. Lewis, Ji, Pettersen and Webb all had outside chances to force a playoff.
If any one of those four holed out for eagle at the last, there would have been a playoff. Lewis came closest as her approach stopped eight feet below the hole. With those misses, the title was Feng's.
"I can't believe that I won a major," Feng said in a TV interview. "I just can't explain how I feel right now."
Lewis, who won the last two stroke-play events on the LPGA Tour, slid back to minus-one after bogeys at 10 and 11. She fought back with birdies on the 12th and 13th. After a birdie on 17 got her to minus-four, Lewis had a glimmer of hope, but it was not meant to be for the 2011 Kraft Nabisco champion as she left her second shot at the last eight feet short of the hole.
Ji parred her first eight holes, then bogeyed three of the next four to slide to one-under par. She fought back with three birdies in the next four holes to grab a piece of second.
The 2009 U.S. Women's Open champion could only par the last two holes to end two back.
Pettersen flew out of the gate with three birdies in a four-hole span from the second. That gave her the lead at minus-five. After tripping to a bogey on the sixth, she birdied the ninth to regain a one-shot lead.
After four pars in a row, Pettersen faltered to bogeys on 13 and 14. She got one stroke back at the 17th, but could only par the last to share second.
Webb had an up and down day with four birdies and four bogeys through 16th. She birdied the 17th to give herself a chance, but a poor approach at the last led to a closing bogey.
Mika Miyazato made a late run with three birdies between the 13th and 17th. That got her into the clubhouse at four-under. It wasn't enough though as Feng beat her by two.
NOTES: Feng, who earned $375,000 for the win, became the seventh player that made this event their first LPGA Tour victory...Yani Tseng, the world No. 1 and 2011 champion, never got on track this week. She closed with a four-over 76 to end tied for 59th at 13-over 301...World No. 2 Na Yeon Choi was disqualified after the final round for failing to sign her scorecard...After a week off, the tour heads to Canada for a new event, the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.