Feng's consistent play not enough to win U.S. Women's Open

US Womens Open Golf
Shanshan Feng lost her three-round lead in the U.S. Women’s Open tournament Sunday.

BEDMINSTER, N.J. – There was no happy ending Sunday for Shanshan Feng, who led after each of the first three rounds of the U.S. Women’s Open but was unable to make the key birdie putts Sunday that would have negated the charge of eventual champion Sung Hyun Park.

For the second straight day, Feng, 27, managed just one birdie during her round at Trump National Golf Club. She missed a number of birdie putts from 20 feet and closer the entire day. Then on the 18th, needing an eagle to tie Park, she instead made a triple bogey 8 for a 75 that dropped her into a tie for fifth at 282.

“I think overall, before the last hole I did pretty well,” Feng said. “I did a good job hanging in right there because my putting was not really that great, so I didn’t make any birdie chance. On the 10th hole, I hit it closer enough so I made a birdie.”

That putt was basically a tap-in. Feng did not 3-putt the entire week and only had two holes where her score was over par – one bogey Friday and the triple on Sunday.

The triple bogey cost her bank account dearly. Had she bogeyed, she would have pocketed the second-place check of $540,000 given that runnerup Hye-Jin Choi is an amateur and ineligible to take money. Instead, Feng won $207,269, meaning the triple cost her $332,731.

No money this time

Choi could only smile when asked how she felt about not being able to collect the second-place money.

“I mean, it would be nice if I could get the money,” she said through a translator, “but I think my primary goal was to come here and compete. So, to me, getting this second place actually means more to me and it’s a greater honor for me. So I am not really focusing on the prize money for now.”

The low American

Marina Alex gave her New Jersey fans a thrill with a round of 70, and her 72-hole score of 4-under 284 put her first among American players and tied for 11th overall.

“It’s great,” said the native of Wayne, N.J. “The last time I had a top-10 in a major was my first year out here, in the British Open [in 2014]. But this is awesome. I feel like I’ve improved so much from then ‘till now in terms of my game and it’s just nice to be back close to the lead.”

Alex, 26, was particular pleased to have what she called “a ton of people” come out to watch her, including her entire family and her first-grade teacher.

“I’m really glad that the state of New Jersey and the community found it interesting to come out to watch me and watching women’s golf, being out here. I’m really happy.”