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LPGA pro concedes match-play consolation match (and $23k) to rest for major

Shanshan Feng hits a tee shot.

LPGA pro Shanshan Feng conceded her consolation match in the inaugural Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play on Sunday at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, citing a need to rest for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open and giving up more than $23,000 in the process.

Feng was one of four who made it to Sunday’s final day, but when she lost her morning semifinals match to Sophia Popov (1 up) she elected not to stick around for her consolation match against Ariya Jutanugarn.

“I think I made the right decision for myself because I’m really, really tired after finishing six rounds in five days, let’s say four and a half days,” she said. “If I play 18 more I don’t know how I will do. I might fall over on the course. I don’t think I should push myself that bad. You know, if I got in the top two, of course, yes, I would play until I fall down on the course. But I lost the match in the morning, and I think it’s a better idea just to get rested after this.”

With Feng conceding the match, Jutanugarn pocketed $102,942.38 for third place, and Feng took $79,633.97 for fourth. It’s a difference of $23,308.41.

The first playing of the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play has followed the same format the PGA Tour uses for the World Golf Championships Match Play. A field of 64 plays one match each on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The top 16 advance to the weekend where, for those who keep winning, a player would have two matches per day. Feng played bonus golf on Saturday, too. Her Round of 16 match went 22 holes, and her quarterfinals match that afternoon went 19 holes.

The desert climate hasn’t helped players. Las Vegas temps have peaked in the mid to high 90s all week.

Ally Ewing, who would go on to beat Popov 2 and 1 in the finals to win, talked about mental fatigue and called her energy level “pretty low” as she spoke to the media after her semifinals match on Sunday.

“Yeah, let’s just say it’s really hot,” she said. “I’m going through my shoes because I’m sweating, and I’ve never had my feet this taped up just from all the elevation, side-hill walks, uphill walks, hot temperatures, 36-hole days. That’s not something we do very often on the LPGA. It’s just a little bit different of a grind this week. But certainly when you signed up for the week you said, Hey, if I can play all those holes then it’s going to be well worth it.”

The LPGA heads from Las Vegas to San Francisco, as the U.S. Women’s Open, the second major of the year, begins on Thursday at The Olympic Club.

“It’s a very hilly and challenging course, so, yeah, I just want to be well-rested and protect myself,” Feng said. “I am an old lady, so I need to learn how to protect myself, right?”

Feng, 31, has won 10 times in her LPGA career, including one major, the Women’s PGA Championship in 2012.

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