Feng Shanshan perfect in Buick championship defense

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China's Feng Shanshan successfully defended her Buick Championship title on Sunday when the World No. 10 quickly put away South Korean star Choi Na-yeon in a first-hole playoff.

As both players shot a final round 67 to finish the 72 holes of regulation deadlocked at 14-under 274 at the 600,000-US-dollar tournament played at Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club, Feng, the China No. 1, sank a 10-foot birdie on the first extra hole.

Choi, the world No. 18, could only watch as her putt sailed past the hole and she could not sink her return shot to prolong the playoff.

In picking up her 15th victory worldwide and first this year, Feng called the win her most exciting yet, especially with the psychological preparation for her title defensee of the two-year-old tournament, a co-sponsored event between the China LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour.

"I feel a little pressure every time I come back to China to play or when I need to defend a championship. But I just kept my usual mind and my patience. I have to say I did very well," said the 26-year-old Guangzhou native.

"Actually, I didn't play well this first half of the season on the LPGA. After the winter, I changed my clubs and they did not fit very well. My putting is not ideal as well. My performance was a slow start.

"This week, it seems I fit the clubs, finally, and I could shoot what I want. It really gives me more confidence ahead of the Olympics. There are still three months left before the Olympics, I still have time to improve my weaknesses. Hope I can be in better state to compete in Rio."

With both players tied at nine-under going into the final round, Choi, the 2012 US Women's Open champion, looked to be running away from Feng when she carded a birdie at the 11th hole to open up a two-stroke lead.

After Feng birdied the next hole, both players birdied the 13th. Choi then birdied the 14th to regain her two-stroke margin. But it was her driving that let the South Korean down in the stretch run. An unplayable lie at the 15th cost her a stroke after her ball came to rest in long grass under a tree.

Choi then rebounded to birdie the 16th hole before a heavy shower and the threat of lightning forced play to suspend for 30 minutes.

As play resumed, Feng birdied the 17th to get within a stroke. It then unraveled for Choi at the last when she again had difficulty off the tee and bogeyed the hole to let Feng into a playoff after the China star made par.

Beth Allen (71) finished the tournament third after the American sank a four-foot putt for birdie at the last to sit six shots back, while Wales' Becky Morgan (68), the first round co-leader, was fourth a shot further back. China's Lin Xiyu (69), the US LPGA Tour regular, was equal fifth at eight shots off the pace, tied with England's Georgia Hall (71).

Chinese teenager Ji Yifan was the top amateur as the 15-year-old struggled to a final round 81 to sit 20 shots back. Shi Yuting (73) won the team competition with playing partner Hong Wenjiao as the pair closed with four-under for a 36-hole score of 10-under.

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