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Wednesday October 10, 2012

Affable Shanshan aims to do a Li Na in golf

KUALA LUMPUR: Tennis player Li Na has taken the sport to great heights in China after winning the French Open last year.

Now, the affable Feng Shanshan wants to do the same for golf back home.

The 23-year became her country’s first golf player to be a member of the LPGA Tour in 2008 and recently made a historic breakthrough after recording her first win on the Tour, emerging as the winner of the LPGA Championships.

Shanshan won the Major title by two strokes.

Shanshan enjoyed an impressive amateur career that included nine wins in China.

She picked up golf when she was 10 – not by choice but by accident.

“I looked like a twig when I was small. My dad was working for the Guangzhou Golf Association and, at his urging, I picked up golf,” she said.

“I tried swimming and tennis to build up my body but it did not work. I improved tremendously in golf and I thought this is my sport. It was hard to find a good coach in China but the Chinese Golf Association have been very helpful in getting me where I want to be.

“Golf is not very big in China like other sports. I want to take golf to a new level in China,” added Shanshan, who qualified for the LPGA Tour on her very first attempt.

Coming into this weekend’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, the world No. 3 will definitely be looking to improve on her ranking and game.

Shanshan finished ninth here last year and recorded four top-10 finishes, including a second-placed finish at the Mizuno Classic in Japan last year.

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