Tough task facing Tseng
When Yani Tseng upstaged the stars and won the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock last year she was 25th in the World.
When 2008 Rookie of the year Yani Tseng upstaged the stars and won the $2 million McDonald’s LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock last year she was ranked 25th in the World.
This week when she takes on the defence of her first Major title at Bulle Rock again, she will be doing it as the World No 2 and with great memories of her thrilling victory there to drive up her confidence.
As exhilarating as it was, last year’s triumph didn’t come easily. She had to win a four-hole, sudden-death play-off against Sweden’s Maria Hjorth to secure the coveted title.
And it is not likely to come easily again this year.
The field includes all 10 of this year’s LPGA Tour winners and virtually everybody who is anybody in women’s golf – with one notable exception.
Annika Soresnstam, the most prolific winner of majors this century, has “stepped away from golf” to have a baby and won’t be there to stand in Tseng’s way.
But the new World No 1, Lorena Ochoa, the only multiple winner so far this season – at the Honda LPGA in Thailand and the Corona Championship in Mexico – certainly will be.
And you might say the same thing about the in-form World Nos 3 an 4, Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr, both of America.
Like Tseng, who won the Corning Classic in May and has had four runner-up finishes, Creamer and Kerr are also title winners who have regularly been strong contenders.
And of course there is always the chance of a seasoned campaigner like Korea’s greatest champion Se Ri Pak, a veteran at the tender age of 31 and the winner of this event in 1998 and 2006, charging home to victory this week on a wave of renewed confidence after her strong come back from the shadows of mediocrity last week when she finished second to her 20-year-old compatriot, In-Kyung Kim, at the LPGA State Farm Classic.
Mind you if the most recent winners of the four women’s Majors mean anything, Tseng’s greatest threats could be young guns like herself – and possibly from South Korea.
Tseng was 19 years and four months when she won at Bulle Rock, South Korean Inbee Park 19 years and 11 months when she claimed the 2008 US Women’s Open, fellow Korean Jiyai Shin 20 years and 3 months, when she secured the 2008 RICOH Women’s British Open and Brittany Lincicome was 23 when she triumphed in this year’s first Major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Wie? Yes she is aged right and has the potential, but will she ever get her head right and her game together like it used to be when she was 14?
She might feature. but there are at least a dozen other contenders who are more than likely to be fighting it out at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.
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