Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) won this year’s LPGA Player of the Year award in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, becoming the first Taiwanese golfer to do so.
Tseng said she was overwhelmed when the announcement was made at the end of the LPGA Tour Championship at the Grand Cypress Golf Club.
“I never thought I would be holding the trophy,” she said. “Winning Player of the Year, this feels like I’m holding for a year. I have been working so hard to chase this title.”
Tseng won three titles this year — the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April, the Ricoh Women’s British Open in August and the LPGA Northwest Arkansas Championship in September.
Two of them were majors.
Tseng, 21, was a front-runner for the Player of the Year award coming into last week’s tournament, but had to look over her shoulder at Cristie Kerr of the US and Choi Na-yeon of South Korea, who were both close contenders.
Teeing off early on Sunday, Tseng managed a 1-under-par 71, but was relegated to spectator status as Kerr and Choi came down the stretch with opportunities to win the LPGA Tour Championship and get in line for the Player of the Year award.
Tseng, however, took the award, as neither Kerr nor Choi could edge past her despite their top-six finishes. Tseng finished 21st with a score of 293.
“It’s my honor to be the Player of the Year and when it was announced that ‘Yani Tseng is Player of the Year,’ the emotion just — it’s kind of overwhelming,” a teary Tseng said.
In an interview after receiving the award, Tseng said this had been a fabulous year for her and that she was most grateful for the firm support of her parents.
“I really love them and want to thank them for supporting me … It’s very tough for them to stay here with me, but they are always supporting me. They never say they are tired of anything. They just care about me,” she said.
Asked about her off-season plans, Tseng said she will be taking some English classes.
“I need to improve my English. I will go to English class in the morning and practice [golf] in the afternoon,” she said.
Since her rookie year on the tour in 2008, Tseng has earned the nickname “Come-From-Behind-Queen” after she won four of her five LPGA titles by rebounding after weak starts.
Of those five, three have been majors —- the LPGA Championship in 2008, the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open, leaving the US Women’s Open as the one major she has yet to win.
Tseng said earlier this year that winning a career Grand Slam was her next goal.
According to the LPGA Web site, only seven players have completed career Grand Slams.
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