Feng Shanshan under no pressure at home

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After three victories in her last four starts, world No. 4 Feng Shanshan said on Wednedsay that she was putting no pressure on herself to become the first Chinese to win her national championship when the Hyundai China Ladies Open tees off Friday in Guangdong province.

With South Koreans dominating the first 10 years of the US$550,000 championship, the China No. 1 said on Wednesday that she was just happy to be back in her home province after a long year to face a strong field at Lion Lake Country Club. The season-ending event for the China LPGA Tour is co-sanctioned with the LPGA Tour of Korea.

"Of course winning this week would be a feather in my hat and make this year sweeter. I have won many times on other tours, but a win on the KLPGA Tour is new territory. I haven't done it. This is our national championship, but no Chinese has held aloft the trophy on Sunday," said Feng who last week won the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters for the fourth time in five years.

"There is a great presence from the Chinese this week. I have been in great shape since the Rio Olympics (where she won a bronze medal), Feng Simin has had some nice finishes on the US LPGA Tour and Shi Yuting qualified for the Japan LPGA Tour. The South Korean players are always strong but I think we can put up a great fight against them."

After skipping the championship the past two years as it clashed with her sponsor's Dubai Ladies Masters event, the 27-year-old Feng said she was looking for a strong performance this week after never contending during her previous appearance at Lion Lake in 2013 when World No. 7 Jang Ha-na raised the trophy.

"Three years ago, I didn't play great. This golf course is not far from my home. I have played here a couple of times since then. It could be a great challenge with firm greens. It's all about the wind. Now it is windy out there. If the wind picks up you must be accurate. I am comfortable with my accuracy now. Recently it is great."

With four wins worldwide and US$1.45 million in prize money on the US LPGA Tour this year, the Guangzhou native said despite her strong performances she felt she could do more.

"It is one of my best years, but I can't say it is the best. It's hard to top 2012 when I won my major title (at the LPGA Championship). I wouldn't compare them. I'd like to say that I am satisfied with my performance so far this year."

Among a strong group of young Chinese players following in Feng's wake is Luo Ying. The Shenzhen native turned pro earlier this year after helping the Washington Huskies to its first NCAA national championship. At the recent US LPGA Tour qualifying school she failed to earn her playing card and will now play full-time on the development Symetra Tour next year.

"This is our flagship event and also one of most difficult events to win because of strong South Korean players. But you know, Chinese players have really made great strides recently," said the 23-year-old Luo. "I think we have a great chance to win. It's important for us to win this event after 10 years' drought. It will be huge for any Chinese winner."

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