World No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan earned her third tournament win in three weeks yesterday, shooting a six-under 66 to pull away for a comfortable five-shot victory over Michelle Wie in the LPGA Thailand.
Tseng led by one stroke over Wie and I.K. Kim of South Korea going into the final round and had the lowest score of the day with seven birdies and one bogey, for a 15-under total of 273.
Wie settled for a 70 to finish second in the season-opening LPGA event, while Kim was another shot back in a tie for third with Karrie Webb.
Tseng took over the No. 1 ranking after winning back-to-back Ladies European Tour events, first the Australian Open and then the Australian Ladies Masters title last weekend.
“I just tried my best and I know I had lots of confidence, but with all the great golfers out here, you never know until the last putt drops in,” Tseng said about winning three weeks in a row.
Kim birdied three of her first six holes to sit tied for the lead with Tseng and she was at 13-under after a birdie on the 13th. However, she made a quintuple-bogey on the 17th to fall out of contention, before finishing with a birdie to secure a tie for third.
Wie also put pressure on Tseng by chipping in for a birdie on the first hole and picking up two more shots on the sixth and seventh, but she didn’t make another birdie the rest of the way and was already four shots behind Tseng when she bogeyed the 17th.
“I feel like I played good out there today, but on the back nine I just didn’t make anything,” Wie said. “Yani played fantastic. She played like a rock star out there. She made every single putt and zero mistakes. Congrats to her.”
Webb finished with a 69, while Paula Creamer of the US shot a 71 to drop to fifth.
Tseng will have a chance for a fourth straight victory at next week’s tournament in Singapore.
“I have lots of confidence and I’m looking forward to next week to see if I can win,” she said. “I feel very excited every week. I just focused on this week. I think to myself: ‘Last week has passed, don’t put pressure on this week.’ Next week is a new week and I’ll enjoy it.”
Taiwan’s Candie Kung carded a 75 to finish tied for 38th place, while compatriot Amy Hung’s 76 left her tied 46th.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
NZ WOMEN’S OPEN
AP, CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND
Australia’s Kristie Smith shot a four-under 68 to overtake a faltering Giulia Sergas and win the New Zealand Women’s Open yesterday.
Smith finished with a 72-hole total of 12-under 276 to claim her first title on the Ladies European Tour.
Sergas, who was penalized a stroke after Saturday’s round for slow play, entered the final round with a four-stroke lead, but the Italian shot two bogeys and a triple-bogey on her first three holes to finish with a 76.
Sergas shared second place with Tiffany Joh of the US, a graduate student at UCLA who shot 70 to move up five places in the final round.
Defending champion Laura Davies briefly led the standings yesterday, before dropping back with a triple-bogey on the fourth. She finished with a 77, eight strokes behind the winner.
REUTERS, NEW DELHI
Local favorite S.S.P. Chowrasia won the Indian Masters, his second European Tour title, at the DLF Golf and Country Club yesterday.
The Kolkata golfer, the winner in 2008, sank seven birdies in his final round of five-under 67 to win the title at 15-under.