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Shanshan Feng birdied 4 of her 1st 6 holes to move into the hunt in the final round of the CME Titleholders and birdied 2 of her last 4 holes to finish at -15, nailing down her 2nd LPGA victory of 2013 and 3rd of her career. She denied Gerina Piller, who made 3 birdies in her last 6 holes to fall 1 shot shy of a playoff, Pornanong Phatlum, who like Piller made 3 birdies on the back 9 but couldn’t get her 1st LPGA victory today, and Sandra Gal, who shot a bogey-free 69 today but couldn’t add to her birdie total over her last 5 holes and ended up 3 off the pace. Feng didn’t quite shoot the round of the day–that belonged to Ilhee Lee, who jumped from T30 to T11 with a 65 that included 3 birdies in a row on the front, 2 in a row as she made the turn, and 3 in a row to close out her year–but she put together the best round under pressure.
World #1 and Player of the Year Inbee Park got it to double digits under par on the front and early on the back, but couldn’t put together a strong stretch run, finishing 4 shots behind Feng, who like her joined the JLPGA to raise the level of her play but unlike her will keep her card on that tour in 2014. Recent #1 Stacy Lewis ended up tied with Cristie Kerr and Sun Young Yoo as the last players in the field to end the week double digits under par–Kerr did it by birdieing 4 of her 1st 11 holes to get into contention and then stalling out; Yoo did it by birdieing 4 in a row early on the back, and Lewis did it by eagling the 17th. So the Vare Trophy and Hall of Fame point that goes with having the lowest scoring average on tour in 2013 goes to Lewis. And Moriya Jutanugarn eagled the par-5 6th and bogeyed 9 and 16 for a 72 that left her E for the week and T33. That was just good enough to beat Caroline Masson for Rookie of the Year by a single point! Congratulations to all 3 winners of the LPGA’s season-ending awards.
I hope Ai Miyazato, who had to WD, is ok. I hope she’s able to play in the Ricoh Cup, the JLPGA’s last event and last major of 2013 this coming week. I’m also hoping Mika Miyazato will be able to shake off a bad final round that dropped her down to -1 for the week, tied with Natalie Gulbis, who fell from T1 to T29 after a disastrous 82. Hopefully she’ll also be making the trip to Japan. It was a down ending for a lot of really good players: Paula Creamer, Chie Arimura, Brittany Lincicome, Hee Kyung Seo, Carlota Ciganda. But they don’t have long to wait for next year!