Shanshan Feng broke away with three straight mid-round birdies and held on to win the TOTO Japan Classic on Sunday for her second straight victory. The 27-year-old Chinese star closed with 2-under 70 at the Taiheiyo Club’s tree-lined Minori Course for a one-stroke victory over South Korea’s Ha Na Jang.
After two-putting for birdie on the par-5 17th to take a two-stroke lead, Feng three-putted for bogey on the par-4 18th, holing the winner from 1 1/2 feet. She finished at 13-under 203 in cool conditions after winning a week ago in steamy Malaysia. She has six LPGA Tour victories.
Jang shot her third straight 68. She won last month in Taiwan, beating Feng by a stroke, for her third victory of the year.
Feng has finished no worse than a tie for fourth in her last six events. She started the run with the Olympic bronze medal in Rio, tied for fourth at Evian in France, opened the Asia trip at home in China with a fourth-place tie, was second behind Jang in Taiwan and tied for third in South Korea.
A stroke ahead of three players after parring the first eight holes, Feng stretched her advantage to four with the birdie spree. She started the run with an 8-foot putt on the par-5 ninth, made a 25-footer on the par-4 10th and a 6-footer on the par-4 11th.
Feng shot 8-under 64 on Saturday to take one-stroke lead over second-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn into the final round. The Chinese player broke through at Taiheiyo after losing a playoff to Momoko Ueda in the 2011 event at Kintetsu Kashikojima, the tournament venue from 2006 to last year.
Japan’s Kotone Hori (68) tied for third at 10 under with defending champion Sun-Ju Ahn (70), So Yeon Ryu(68) and Soo-Yun Kang (71). Suzann Pettersen had a 72 in the final group to finish at 9 under.
Jutanugarn missed a chance to wrap up the LPGA Tour player of the year award with a victory, shooting a 74 to drop into a tie for 10th at 8 under. The Thai star leads the tour with five victories.
The top-ranked Lydia Ko, chasing Jutanugarn in the points race, had a 69 to tie for 43rd at 2 under. Ko and Jutanugarn are skipping the Lorena Ochoa Invitational next week in Mexico and will close the season in two weeks in Florida at the CME Group Tour Championship.
Lexi Thompson shot a 68 to tie for 14th at 7 under. U.S. Solheim Cup teammate Stacy Lewis tied for 31st at 4 under after a 72. The 2012 champion, she’s winless in 62 starts since June 2014.
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