Feng signals she's back to form

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File photo of Feng Shanshan.

Feng Shanshan is back.

By holding her nerve to claim her first LPGA Tour victory in nearly two years at the Thornberry Creek Classic in Oneida, Wisconsin on Sunday, China's former world No 1 sent a strong signal that her game is rounding into shape.

Feng drained a birdie putt on her last hole for a final-round 63 and a hugely impressive 29-under total to claim a one-shot victory over Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn.

China's Yan Jing finished seven shots behind Feng in eighth.

The victory was Feng's 10th on the LPGA Tour but her first since Blue Bay in Sanya, Hainan province, in November 2017.

Ranked world No 26 before she teed off on Thursday, Feng is now hopeful she has finally halted her slide.

"Last season my ranking went from maybe No 1 to like, I don't know, 30s maybe. Then I just couldn't stop it from going down," said Feng.

"I was missing the cuts at the majors, and of course that's going to hurt rankings," added the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, who turns 30 next month.

"But what I was always thinking was I just need to get my ball striking back, because my putting wasn't that bad. My ball striking was just a little bit lost, a little off.

"I think last week my ball striking started to be a lot better. I knew that this week I would have to go low, and I was very concentrated on every shot.

"That really helped. At the end, I was lucky enough to win by one stroke, but I would say that it's a great win because I think now I've got my game back, my confidence back, and I believe I can win more in the future."

Jutanugarn, another former world No 1, appeared to be in control with a three-shot lead on the back nine.

She holed a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-4 sixth and closed out her 30 on the front nine with another eagle.

But the Thai pulled her tee shot on the par-5 15th, turning a birdie hole into a bogey that cost her momentum and the lead. In the group behind her, Feng reeled off birdies at the 13th, 14th and 16th holes, the last one a dart to two feet that gave her a one-shot lead.

Jutanugarn wasn't finished, however, with her final approach shot covering the flag and setting up birdie. But Feng had the last word.

"Before the round today, I didn't know what the others were going to do, so I was aiming for 30 under," said Feng, whose previous best finish this year was a tie for fourth at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.

With the British Open teeing off on Aug 1 in Milton Keynes, winning her first major is next on Feng's hit list.

"My next goal is to win a major, so I think it's still not running out yet. I've still got two more chances this year, so I will go for it," she said.

"This is lot my last win, for sure. I want to win as many as I can.

"I haven't been having a good year so far. I missed all three cuts at the first three majors, so I was feeling a little bit lost.

"But I knew I was making changes to get better in the future. I was trying to gain a little distance. But after I gained the distance, then I kind of lost control about the direction.

"But starting last week I felt like my iron game kind of came back. This week I think I got everything together, which is what I said I wanted to do.

"I was just hoping to be back in the winning circle as soon as possible."

With rounds of 68-68-63-67, world No 136 Yan was justifiably pleased with her weekend's work.

"It's definitely a good sign of the work that I've been putting in," said Yan, who has never tasted victory on the tour.

"I started the year off well but then hit a couple of bumps. You need that little bit of a confidence boost to make sure you don't get dragged down with the bad performances."

Feng's 29-under was two shots shy of the LPGA record that Kim Sei-young set last year at Oneida.

South Korea's Amy Yang shot a 65 and finished in a tie for third at 25 under with American Tiffany Joh, who shot 67.

Kim Hyo-joo fired an 8-under 64 to finish alone in fifth, five shots back of Feng.

World No 1 Park Sung-hyun was tied for the lead with Feng and Jutanugarn heading into the final round, but she failed to make a back-nine charge and shot 69 for the second straight round.

Park finished in a tie for sixth with Korean-American teenager Yealimi Noh, who was trying to become just the third Monday qualifier in the history of the LPGA Tour to win a tournament.

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