China’s Shanshan Feng fell a few shots shy of winning a second Olympic medal in golf for her country after signing off with a four-under 67 in the women’s competition on Saturday.
The 10-time LPGA Tour winner, who won the bronze in Rio 2016, finished solo eighth on 11-under 273 at Kasumigaseki Country Club, some five strokes behind bronze medallist Lydia Ko of New Zealand who lost in a playoff to Japan’s Mone Inami after both tied on 16-under.
American World No.1 Nelly Korda, the overnight leader, claimed the gold medal by one shot after closing with a 69 for a winning total of 17-under 267 while Feng’s countrywoman, Xiyu Lin enjoyed a top-10 finish by sharing ninth place after a final round 68.
“It was great. I think I didn't have a great start, but I felt like the last three days I played like a champion, even though I was like really behind after the first round. I think I really came back and there's no regret because this is golf. In the Olympics, you have the best girls in the world playing and you just have to have four good days to be able to win a medal,” said Feng.
She opened with a disappointing 74 but bounced back like the champion she is with a 64 in the second round before adding a 68 on Friday to keep alive her hopes of earning a podium finish again. In the final round, she made five birdies against a lone bogey but she did not quite threaten the leaders in the groups behind her.
“The girls at the top, they deserve it. I'm very happy to see like some new faces, like some players who are not ranked like really high but they're all up there competing for the medal. I'm very happy to see that because we need some new faces from new countries,” said the 32-year-old Feng.
She shrugged off talk of an impending retirement, saying she isn’t quite done yet competing at the highest level on the LPGA Tour.
“I wouldn't say I'm retired yet,” the former World No.1 said laughing. “I would like to play some more on the LPGA, just to give it like a conclusion.”
Lin, 25, hopes her top-10 at the Olympics will be the springboard to a maiden victory on the LPGA Tour. “I think there's a lot of positives,” said the two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour. “This week, there're so many things I did really, really well and the only thing that I think is missing is definitely the performance on the green. But in general, top-10 it's a big compliment for me.”
“I wouldn't say I'm retired yet. I would like to play some more on the LPGA, just to give it like a conclusion.” - Shanshan Feng.
While there are no prizes for those who finish outside the top-3 at the Olympics, Lin is already looking forward to resuming her chase for success on the LPGA Tour and has her eye on Paris 2024. She said there was always expectations when representing her country and believes she will be better prepared for the next Olympics.
“I'm entering the tournament wishing to be able to get a medal. So that's a little extra pressure because we only have one start in every four years. In general, I still had a great week,” she said.
“Getting into Tokyo really gave me lots of confidence because I would say two years ago, I wasn't even close to being on the team and then this year because of some really key performances, I ended up in this tournament. I think it gave me lots of confidence and obviously I will be looking forward to representing China again in Paris and looking forward to a breakthrough on the LPGA Tour.”