Teenager Zeng Celebrates Fourth Tour Win

Zeng Liqi celebrates after holing out on the 18th green in the final round.

Zhuhai, China: Zeng Liqi captured the fourth China LPGA Tour title of her young career with a three-stroke triumph in the Golf Liquor Guangdong Women’s Open.

The Nanchang teenager closed with a five-under 67 over the Zhuhai Lakewood Golf Club Composite Course to finish on nine-under 207 for her second victory of the year. The win was worth RMB30,000. 

Thailand’s Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (69) was runner-up, one shot ahead of compatriot Kusuma Meechai (70). China’s Cao Xinyu (70) and Zhang Yahui (73) were the top amateurs in equal fourth, seven strokes back. 

Zeng, winner of last month’s Beijing Women’s Challenge, started the day with a one-stroke lead and held her rivals at bay in a tournament in which she never trailed throughout the 54 holes.

Her final round featured six birdies, including two over the final two holes, and a lone dropped shot at the 16th hole where she suffered her sixth three-putt bogey of the week. 

“I played an easy game and felt no pressure until the 15th hole where Sherman made a great birdie. I could hardly control the fluctuation going on in my mind at the time.

“At the 16th hole, I three-putted for bogey from 20 feet. But I didn’t allow victory to slip from my grasp,” said Zeng who becomes the youngest player in CLPGA Tour history to achieve four wins at the age of 17 years, one month and seven days. 

“At the 17th hole, I made a six-footer for birdie after Sherman made a fantastic birdie from 15 feet. Another important shot of the day was my approach against the wind at the last. I hit an amazing shot to 10 feet of the pin from 199 yards with a four-iron.

“I knew that Sherman hit over the green and couldn’t make a birdie. I told my caddie that I just needed two putts for a par. To my surprise, I made that birdie putt, again. An incredible win.” 

After five birdies and a lone bogey through 17 holes, Sherman got to within one stroke of Zeng going into the final hole but could not capitalise, closing with a bogey five. 

“Actually, I didn’t know I was close to the champion. She (Zeng) played so well. I just enjoyed watching her play,” said the Bueng Kan native who did enough to maintain her position atop the CLPGA Tour Order of Merit. 

Cao, a 16-year-old from Shanghai, picked up her third low amateur honour of the year, closing with a round featuring four birdies and two bogeys. 

“I had a high fever and played less golf coming into this week so I didn’t have a high expectation. In fact, I worried a little more about my game. I am glad to have another good week. This result is satisfying,” said Cao, currently 208th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. 

“I have finished three times in the top five this year, which has made me more confident. The next step might be a win on the Tour.” 

Ni Zixin, the 15-year-old amateur who won last year’s tournament, closed with a two-under 70 for her best round of the week and ended joint eighth. 

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