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Feng Takes Titleholders
Shanshan Feng notched one of the biggest victories of her career Sunday. The 24-year-old from China closed with a 6-under 66 at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla., to win the LPGA Tour's season-ending CME Group Titleholders.
Feng got off to a hot start in her flawless final round, recording four birdies on the front nine to make the turn in 4-under 32 and then tacking on two more birdies on the home half. She finished at 15-under 273, a shot ahead of American 54-hole co-leader Gerina Piller, who shot 69.
"Before I started, I never thought I was going to win," said Feng, who earned the LPGA's largest first-place prize of $700,000. "I knew I was only two behind. But I thought all the people in the last group were really strong competitors."
Ending up in third at 275 was Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum (70) - who was also tied for the lead heading into Sunday, while Sandra Gal of Germany took fourth at 276 following a 69. Alone in fifth at 11-under 277 was No. 1-ranked Inbee Park (68).
Natalie Gulbis began the last round tied for the lead with Phatlum and Piller. But the 30-year-old from Sacramento had a horrible Sunday, ballooning to a 10-over 82 to drop into a share of 29th at 1-under 287.
After firing a course-record-setting 9-under 63 Saturday, Stacy Lewis went eight shots higher in the final round, with her 71 putting her tied for sixth at 10-under 278 with fellow American Cristie Kerr and South Korean Sun Young Yoo, who each shot 69. Defending champion Na Yeon Choi ended up tied for 33rd at even-par 288.
In her professional debut 16-year-old Lydia Ko carded rounds of 71, 71, 72 and 70 to tie for 21st.
At the conclusion of the tournament, several LPGA awards were settled. Park had already clinched the Player of the Year last week in Mexico, and with her scores this week, Lewis sewed up the Vare Trophy for the season's low scoring average.
Rookie of the Year honors went to Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand, who won by a point over Caroline Masson of Germany.
But the big story of the day was Feng, now a three-time winner - including her first victory last year in the LPGA Championship, a major - on the LPGA Tour.
"I'm really happy because I set a goal early this year. I said I want to win twice," said Feng, who's expected to rise to No. 4 in the world following the Titleholders. "Before China, I didn't have any wins. Finally, I got it at the last minutes. Maybe it means I can take more time off in the off-season."
Park, a six-time winner this year - including three major titles, already has her sights set on 2014. "I played better this year," Park said. "There is definitely room to improve for next year and I probably have a little more pressure on me next year, but I think I have a lot of pressure this year, anyways. A little bit more doesn't really make a difference for me."
For all the scores, visit www.lpga.com.
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