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Feng ties for low-round and wins in Malaysia
October 12, 2014

Interviews:
Rolex Rankings No. 9 Shanshan Feng (-18)
Rolex Rankings No. 32 Pornanong Phatlum (-15)
Rolex Rankings No. 124 Pernilla Lindberg (-14)
Rolex Rankings No. 241 Kelly Tan (+2)

Without the pressure of playing at home in her native China, Shanshan Feng tied for low-round of the day with an 8-under 63 to claim the 2014 Sime Darby LPGA championship. Thanks to a 6-under back nine, one that included an eagle on 16, Feng seized control of the tournament on the way to her fourth career victory.

Feng used the same 3-wood on 16 today that she also used for the magical approach into a hazard on 18 that hit a rock and bounced off the flagstick, setting up eagle en route to the 2013 Reignwood LPGA Classic last year.

“It was actually a little between clubs. If I hit 3 wood it would be maybe a little long, so I decided actually to go
forward. I hit the 3 wood with like a smooth swing.” Feng explained. “Then I was hoping to get a good bounce, which I did. It reminded me kind of like 18 hole Reignwood last year. Same club. It’s the magic 3 wood again. I made an eagle again, and I think that was pretty important for my win.”

Until the 16th hole, Feng didn’t think she had a chance to win. After missing a 15-20 foot birdie putt and the outright lead on 15, Feng rebounded in a big way to take command of the tournament after Pornanong Phatlum hit a shot in the water on 16. Feng did so despite accidentally taking a look at the leaderboard on the hole.

“I have a habit that I don’t look at leaderboards during my play.” Feng explained. “Actually, I accidentally knew I was tied with her when I was on 16 green. I did not want to see the score, but I saw it.”

Playing carefree this week is what Feng credits for the win.

“Last week I was defending champion in China at Reignwood and I did really bad.” Feng admitted. “So coming into this week, I had no pressure at all. Even though like this morning until like the 17th hole I still didn’t think I was going to win. What I was doing was just to focus on every shot and just try to do my best and hope that putts can fall. That’s all I did.”

Pornanong Phatlum (-15) nearly missed becoming the first Thai player to win on the LPGA Tour, finishing three strokes behind Feng in the end.

“I feel happy that I have a good week this week. Today just didn’t make the putt today, but hit it very good today still.” Phatlum said.

$1 million milestone: With the win, Feng crossed the $1 million (USD) mark in earnings this year and for the third time in her career. She is now the 8th different LPGA players to reach at least $1 million in 2014. Stacy Lewis leads the way with $2,300,588 in winnings.

Quote of the day: “Last year I said, Okay, I want to win two tournaments, and I did. So this year I’m like, Okay, people, you need to keep going forward. I won two already last year, so this year I want to win three. It’s kind of like a tough goal, but I’m a tough person, too. Well, five tournaments left. I got one down and two more to go in four weeks.”

-Shanshan Feng explaining that her goal coming into 2014 was to one-up her 2013 win total of 2 tournaments.

Thank the caddie: You can’t win golf tournaments all by yourself and after her win at the 2014 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Shanshan Feng made sure to thank the man who carries her bag, Mercer Leftwich.

“Need to thank my caddie.” Feng said during her press conference. “He has a better record than I do here. He has two wins, one second and one nine. The last win was with Jimin Kang [in 2010]. This is our actually third anniversary event, like three years right now. I met him here. So I feel really happy. We are very happy.”

Shanshan has played well in Malaysia, finishing runner up in 2013, T-19 in 2012, T-9 in 2012 and T-12 in 2011.

Social scene: Always a fan-favorite on site at tournaments, Paula Creamer especially loves her younger fans who come out to watch her play.

“Thanks Robin for coming out to watch me play #Malaysia @simebarby”

-Paula Creamer via Instagram (@paulacreamer1)

The race for $1 million: Shanshan Feng made the move of the week and is now within the top 9 of the Race to the CME Globe point standings. With her win at the 2014 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Feng added 500 points to her total and jumps ahead of Lexi Thompson in the standings.

Now that Feng has jumped into the top 9, she can start thinking about the possibility of winning the $1 million prize. What she would do with that money is in question.

“It means I will have a very good winter.” Feng joked. “Of course I would say I’m not going to retire even though I’m making that one million. I would say it’s not only money, I mean, it goes to one person at the end of the season for the whole tour. Actually from the beginning of the year I never thought about winning it or anything, especially when I’m defending champion for the CME tournament. So I know I will have more pressure coming into the CME.”

How the race works: The Race for the CME Globe and its $1 million prize is heating up and players now have five weeks remaining to improve their position in the season-long points competition before the point reset.

After the reset, the players in the top-3 positions on the Race to the CME Globe Points Standings will be able to win the Race to the CME Globe with a win at the Tour Championship; and the players in the top-9 positions will have a mathematical chance to win the race.

“There’s not much you can do.” Suzann Pettersen responded when asked if being in the top 9 is something that will weigh on her mind over the final part of the season.

“It’s out of your control.” Pettersen added. “Usually when I go to Asia I’ve been very successful here in the past. So just make the most of the trip. I’m rested and I look forward to this final part of the season.“

After the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex in Mexico, LPGA Members who meet the entry criteria for the CME Group Tour Championship will be seeded based on their position on the Race to the CME Globe Points Standings. Points for each Member will then be reset for the CME Group Tour Championship based on the points reset table listed on www.lpga.com/golf/news/cme-group-tour-championship-eligibility.

The reset will ensure that the race will be won at the season-ending tournament. For more information on point distribution, the reset or entry criteria, please visit www.lpga.com. Below are the current top-10 standings in the Race to the CME Globe prior to the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia:

Rank
Player
Points
Top-10s
Wins
1
Stacy Lewis
4333
16
3
2
Inbee Park
3222
14
2
3
Lydia Ko
2906
10
2
4
Michelle Wie
2588
10
2
5
Anna Nordqvist
2325
8
2
6
So Yeon Ryu
2181
11
1
7
Karrie Webb
2106
5
2
8
Lexi Thompson
1949
8
1
9
Azahara Munoz
1922
8
0
10
Cristie Kerr*
1834
11
0
* Not in the field this week

Eagles for a cause: “Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends” is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group will donate $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. This amount will increase to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship.

This weekend, five total eagles were recorded by Ilhee Lee, Shanshan Feng, Carlota Ciganda, Mirim Lee and Lexi Thompson which brings the total money raised this year to $261,000. Through the first 24 tournaments prior to the Reignwood LPGA Classic, $256,000 had been raised.

INTERVIEWS

Rolex Rankings No. 9 Shanshan Feng (-18)

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome the 2014 Sime Darby Champion, Shanshan Feng, into the interview room. Shanshan, congratulations. Great round today. You just came in today saying you didn't really expects to win this thing, did you?
SHANSHAN FENG: Actually not, because coming in this week, I mean, I came from China. Last week I was the defending champion for the Reignwood Classic and I was playing in China and did so well last year and actually I struggled this year. I played really badly. Like nothing was going in the right way.

So coming into this week, although I had very good record here, I didn't expect myself to do too well. So I was just going for top 10. I think I made top 10. Yeah.

MODERATOR: The round today, 63, especially the eagle on 16, can you take us through that hole shot by shot, your mindset. You used that magical club that you used at Reignwood last year, didn't you?
SHANSHAN FENG: Yes. It's the same magical 3-wood, upper tee. I mean, they moved us up so it's upper tee, and it becomes like a two-shot hole.

So I hit my driver and it was really like that straight, like middle of the fairway, and left my like 206 and then 211 total.

I knew it was kind of between clubs for me, so I was either going to go like small 3-wood or very hard 3-hybrid. I thought 3-wood was better because I wanted to carry everything.

So I kind of hit like a smooth 3-wood there trying to hit like a 210 shot. It landed perfect. I think it landed just fine in the bunker. The rough actually slowed the ball down and kicked it left.

Only had like six feet left for eagle. Accidently I saw the board and I knew I was tied for the lead.

MODERATOR: At that point or before the putt?
SHANSHAN FENG: Before the putt. Because the board was right there and I was reading and I was like, Oh, I saw it.

I was putting for eagle and I was like, Maybe I'll just make this eagle and run away, you know, because I expected maybe she would be making birdies coming in, too.

So I made the eagle putt. Was a little bit nervous on 17 and 18, but not bad. Like for both of the greens I took little upper clubs to make sure I would carry everything, carry the hazard, and leave it on the green. And if I make the putts I make it, and if I don't -- like what I made was just two-putts for the last two holes.

I looked up and I'm three ahead. Didn't know that.

MODERATOR: What is the mindset when you come back like that? Is it more sweet when you do secure the victory?
SHANSHAN FENG: Well, of course. I would say I thought, you know, I didn't even know if I would be leading after I make the eagle. I knew I was 18 under, but she was at 16. The last few holes, you know, would be some birdie holes. I expected her to maybe make some birdies coming in, too.

When I saw I was three ahead and I had that little cut left, like two-feet putt left, I was like, I think I can make this. So I feel really good, especially after last week's not-very-good performance. I feel like I'm back here again. My goal was to win three times this year on the LPGA.

Early this week the media asks me like, How do you feel about your goal? I was like, Well, I only have five tournaments left, so if I want to reach my goal I have to make something happen.

I won this week, so now I have two more to go with four tournaments left. I am feeling good.

MODERATOR: I have to ask one more. Your win this week propelled you up to No. 8 in the Race to the CME. If the CME Championship started today, would give you a mathematical chance at a $1 million. You had four career wins, but what would it mean to win that $1 million at the end of the year.
SHANSHAN FENG: It means I will have a very good winter. Of course I would say I'm not going to retire even though I'm making that one million. I would say it's not only money -- I mean, it goes to one person at the end of the season for the whole tour.

Actually from the beginning of the year I never thought about winning it or anything, especially when I'm defending champion for the CME tournament. So I know I will have more pressure coming into the CME.

Now because of this week I'm feeling confident again. Hopefully it's going to put me up in the good spot. I did really well last year at the same course, so I think just like here, I have good memories and I play well.

MODERATOR: Perfect. Questions for Shanshan?

Q. Shanshan, congratulations on your win. Is there a particular reason why you've always performed well here? Is it the golf course? Atmosphere?
SHANSHAN FENG: I think every year, I don't know why, but I'm so patient here. This course is set up for some low scores ever day. But like first, second, third day, there were like one people in my group that was making all the putts.

I wasn't making as many as they were doing, but I stayed really patient. I was like, It's okay if they're just one really good day but I'm going to have four consistently good days. So I was really patient. I think course is set up very nicely to me because I'm a very good iron player.

I think it's very important to get the balls close to the pins so we can have more birdie chances. I think I read the greens here pretty well. Even though some of them are hard to read, I think I do pretty well here.

Need to thank my caddie. He has a better record than I do here. He has two wins, one second and one nine. The last win was with Jimin Kang. This is our actually third anniversary event, like three years right now.

I met him here. So I feel really happy. We are very happy.

MODERATOR: And your caddie's name?
SHANSHAN FENG: Mercer Leftwich. So we're both really happy. Need to thank him, because I think he helps a lot.

Q. Like Li Na, you are now an icon in China. What does that mean to you in terms of the affect of golf in China? What advice would you give to our young Malaysian Angels who didn't do too well overall today. What would you say to them in terms of what do I do now? Do they just give up or keep going?
SHANSHAN FENG: Okay, so first question. I won't say that I'm an icon in China, but I would say that actually a lot of the juniors, they actually maybe -- I'm like maybe like a model.

I'm like a white mouse, so I am testing everything, trying everything out. I just tell them the right way to go and they just follow my path.

This year we have another very young rookie girl from Guangzhou also, Xi Yu Lin, and what she said she was just trying to follow my path and copy what I did.

So I'm really happy that I gave them confidence, because a lot of them -- like we thought that LPGA was like kind of far away, unreachable for us.

Because now I'm kind of successful on the tour, a lot of girls think that Chinese can be on the tour and we're not that fair away.

So this year we have four Chinese girls in the final Q-School this time, and expecting to see more Chinese girls on the tour. I know they can actually do better than what I'm doing right now.

And the second question, I will say the Angels, I think for them, playing in your home country you have more pressure. Like last week I was playing in China; I struggled.

But it doesn't mean I'm not a good player. I think they are good players, because I played with Michelle, one of the Angels, in the practice round. Everything of her game was good. It wasn't that bad.

I would say they had pressure, and also Kelly Tan, she's done pretty well on our tour. She saved her exemption, I think. But she told me she had so much pressure coming back.

Before this year she was an amateur and nobody was paying attention to her and she enjoyed it. But this year like you see her picture all over, all around, and she told me she was really nervous. She was like scared.

So that's why she didn't perform very well. But I would say everybody goes through that, and that's not easy. It takes time.

But I do think that Malaysian girls can be better. Following Kelly Tan's path. So Kelly just need to do better.

Q. As you win titles year by year, do your goals become bigger? What would be the biggest in the back of your mind really?
SHANSHAN FENG: I don't know. I mean, I set goals like just every year, but I don't set like a really long-term goal. Because when I was like 12 my goal was to get on the LPGA, which I already did it like seven years ago.

So that was my dream at that time. But then after I qualified for the tour, I was like, Okay, now my goal is to win one tournament, which I did two years ago. It was the major.

Then last year I said, Okay, I want to win two tournaments, and I did.

So this year I'm like, Okay, people, you need to keep going forward. I won two already last year, so this year I want to win three.

It's kind of like a tough goal, but I'm a tough person, too. Well, five tournaments left. I got one down and two more to go in four weeks.

I just said that with Jason, Lydia Ko's caddie, You just need to take it easy. Slow down. I was like, I don't think so.

And then I would say I don't have like maybe somebody that would think about to be world No. 1 or somebody. After I achieve one goal, then I set another one.

MODERATOR: Any other questions for Shanshan? All right. Well, congratulations. (Applause).

Rolex Rankings No. 32 Pornanong Phatlum (-15)

Q. Overall very good tournament for you. Came up just short. How are you feeling right now?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: I feel happy that I have a good week this week. Today just didn't make the putt today, but hit it very good today still.

Yeah, still is a good week.

Q. Was it on 15 or 16 into the water? Can you talk about that shot?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: On 15?

Q. Was it 15?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: Yeah.

Q. What happened on that shot?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: I think I just hit to the left. Yeah, just hit very good and then just like go over the green.

Q. How important was your brother this week for you?
PORNANONG PHATLUM: He help me a lot. He help me everything, like he help me relax and sometime pressure me to play good.

Rolex Rankings No. 124 Pernilla Lindberg (-14)

Q. Fantastic round. Low round of the day. Congratulations. Just talk us through that round.
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, thank you. Yeah, I had two kind of really good stretches in there. I started off with four straight birdies. Holed 3, 4, 5, 56.

And then kind of did the similar thing towards the end with four straight birdies on 15, 16, 17, 18.

So just felt like I've been playing really solid golf this week. I haven't really been enough on the greens earlier in the week, and today I decided I that was really going to try to make sure I got all my putts there.

I gave myself good chances and I was rolling it good and they all dropped in.

Q. Fantastic. And you are leader in the clubhouse. What were you going to do for the next half hour, 40 minutes or so before the others come in?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Right now I just need to go inside and cool down a little bit. It's really humid out there today. Yeah, just keep drinking water and keep checking what the girls are doing. Yeah, try to stay cool.

Q. You've enjoyed yourself in Malaysia?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: Yeah, even for a Swede that's not used to this humidity, it's one of our best tournaments all year. We're so well looked after. It's always fun to be here.

Q. How did you deal with the heat?
PERNILLA LINDBERG: I think I've learned to deal with it a little bit more living in Florida now. Just keep drinking a lot and I have towels out there that I kind of wipe myself.

Rolex Rankings No. 241 Kelly Tan (+2)

Q. 3-under at one point. Two bogeys on the way in. Satisfied with your round?
KELLY TAN: Yeah, that hole just didn't treat me good this week. I bogeyed four days in a row, and just doesn't seem like my kind of hole.

But, you know, I moved on. Hole 9 just didn't hit a good drive. I just have to punch out and hope for the four, but didn't happen.

Q. Overall your performance this week?
KELLY TAN: I thought I handled myself pretty good. It's good. I mean, not the best I could do.

You always look back at rounds that you know you can do better. Just one of those weeks that you know you can do better.

Q. What would you have done differently?
KELLY TAN: Of course my first day kind of let me down, put me back a little bit there. So if I would be given another choice to go out there and play another four days, I'd like to start the tournament better and just hang in there.

Yeah.

Q. You came into the tournament on the back of a very strong performance in China last week. Couldn't ride on it or what?
KELLY TAN: It's been a long year for me. I haven't had much time off. I think my body is a little tired. I could tell there on the back nine I was kind of just dragging myself through in this hot weather.

Yeah, I still think that I did good. I'm proud of myself.

Q. To have so many people from your family as well as from your hometown come here and watch you this week, you finally made yourself up here to the LPGA. How does that feel?
KELLY TAN: I'm very fortunate that I have a lot of fans and family that could spare extra time for me to come up here. It's three-hour drive and it's not easy. I really appreciate their time and everything.

And also little girls, little fans out there supporting. I've seen couple of them out there for every single round, so I'm really thankful.

Q. So you want to just enjoy the game today?
KELLY TAN: Yeah, I thought my temperament was very good out there today. I just took every shot at a time and did my best. If it didn't come my way, I just moved on.

Q. Coming into this week were you believing that you could qualify for the season-ending championship?
KELLY TAN: Yes. Technically I have to win it to get the slot, but I felt as good as I could do, you know.

Feel really good my game. Just wanted to go out there and do it, but unfortunately I didn't show the result, the rest -- my best result, so...

Q. What's next? Anything you learn from this tournament?
KELLY TAN: Yeah. Just it's my first year back home playing as a professional in the hometown. I knew there was a lot of pressure, and I know already -- way before the event I was just telling myself just try to go out and enjoy myself.

That was the only thing I struggled with, because I took it really seriously. I wanted to do good. Every time things didn't come my way I try to fight it, and I thought I should just stay back and relax and still smile out there no matter what happened.

Yeah, if I still have the opportunity to play out here next year, I'm just going to go out there and really, really enjoy myself and do not care what happens. I felt really fortunate to be out there already.

Q. Short break after this?
KELLY TAN: Hey, it's two months. Go do some holiday and I don't touch my baby.

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