Feng wins Titleholder's championship

Braig Handel, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NAPLES, Fla. -- Shanshan Feng did not get a chance to see Gerina Piller's putt that would have tied her on the final hole in the CME Group Titleholder's championship.
The silence told her all she needed to know.
The putt missed, and Feng held off the hard-charging Piller to win the LPGA's season-ending event at Tiburon Golf Resort on Sunday.
Feng shot a final-round 66 to finish 15-under for the tournament. She had six birdies on the day.
"I said I want to win more in the states on the LPGA, so I set a goal to win twice," Feng said. "I didn't win any before China but in the last four, I won two so that was amazing."
Feng earned a tour-high $700,000 with the victory but doesn't plan on spending much on herself.
"I'll put most of it in the bank and when I retire, I want to start an academy," she said.
Even though she accomplished her goal of a second victory this season, she said it was more important to her to shoot 15-under.
"If I did that, it didn't matter if I win or not," she said. "I did it. It didn't matter how Gerina was doing."
Feng did see Piller's approach on the final hole from 162 yards out from in front of a bush. Using a 7-iron from the rough on an upslope, Piller put her shot about 10 feet away.
"It was amazing," Feng said.
"I had some juices going," Piller said. "That's what you practice for. So I just stood over it and said, 'Just trust yourself.' I hit it pretty good and it ended up pretty good."
On the subsequent putt that missed by inches, Piller said, "I just didn't read enough break."
While disappointed she didn't win, the American still made $139,713 for finishing second.
Tied with Natalie Gulbis and Pornanong Phatlum after three rounds, Piller fell behind Sunday, then had birdies on three of her last six holes.
"To come out and grind like I did and give myself an opportunity to force a playoff, I'm pretty excited about that," she said. "I've been hitting my driver really well all week and I'm sure with nerves I was starting to hook it and it got me in trouble the first couple of holes. But I just knew that I hit it well all week and anything can happen out there."
Piller said Feng is super consistent.
"She's a major champion, so hats off to her," Piller said. "She played great today and I knew it was going to be tough."
Feng said she missed some birdie putts during the day that could have given her a larger cushion. However, she came up with birdies on Nos. 15 and 17 that proved crucial.
Phatlum finished third at 13-under and Sandra Gal was fourth at 12-under. Player of the Year Inbee Park finished fifth, at 11-under.
Cristie Kerr, Sun Young Yoo and Stacy Lewis came in at 10-under.
Lewis earned the Vare Trophy for lowest average score per round. She's the first American to win that award since Beth Daniel in 1994. Her scoring average of 69.484 is the eighth-best all time in LPGA history.
"It's awesome," Lewis said. "As Americans we hear about that all the time: It's been 18 years or it's been 20 years or whatever it is. I'm just glad to have that kind of checked off the list. We've got to get American golf on the map. That's been the goal and I'm just fortunate I've been playing good golf.
"I know I've been making a lot of birdies this year so I kind of didn't really realize what it was at for most of the year. The last few months I watched it and kept posting low numbers. Just to be a part of history is so cool. My name is now included among the greats of this game and it's an honor."
Gulbis, who began the day in a three-way tie for first, shot 10-over for the day.
Lydia Ko shot 2-under Sunday for a finish of 4-under. The teenager, who turned pro a month ago, made $16,063 with her first paycheck.
The LPGA Tour will start its 2014 season with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic from Jan. 23-26.

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