The International Junior Golf Tour’s (IJGT) Northeast Tour will be in Pittsford, N.Y., the weekend of Sept. 28-29 for The Upstate Challenge at Locust Hill Country Club. This will be the first IJGT Event that the private club will host. Despite that, the IJGT and Locust Hill CC have a connection dating back to the 2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship. At the 2012 LPGA Championship, Shanshan Feng, a former IJGT player, made history with the first major victory of her career.
Feng, 24, had a great deal of success in her time with the IJGT. Originally born in China, Feng relocated to the United States in 2007 and was enrolled in the International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA). That year, Feng was victorious four times on the IJGT, qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open, and was named the Top Chinese Amateur by Golfweek. She tied for ninth at that season’s LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn tour exemption for the 2008 LPGA season and turned pro immediately after.
From her rookie season in 2008 until 2011, Feng finished in the top-10 of 13 tournaments but was never able to breakthrough for a victory. That all changed in 2012. Feng won for the first time on the LPGA European Tour in March of that season, and then followed that victory up with another one, this time on the LPGA Japanese Tour, in May. Feng’s landmark victory came less than a month later at the LPGA Championship at Locust Hill.
Feng entered the tournament, the LPGA season’s second major championship, as the 10th ranked female player with an outside shot at the title. She carded scores of 72-73-70 to sit at 1-under-par entering Sunday, three shots off the lead. That Sunday, she shot a 5-under, 67, the lowest round of any player in any round of the tournament, to come from behind and win the Wegmans LPGA Championship by two strokes over Mika Miyazato, Suzann Pettersen, and Stacy Lewis. With the victory, Feng became the first golfer from mainland China to win an LPGA Event.
When the newest wave of IJGT golfers take on Locust Hill, they’ll be looking to follow in Feng’s footsteps. With a strong field of golfers taking part in The Upstate Challenge at Locust Hill, spectators could potentially see the next Shanshan Feng, or major champion, in action.