Taiwan’s Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) confirmed she is the best female golfer in the world by staging a successful defense of the British Open at Carnoustie on Sunday with a four-shot triumph.
The 22-year-old collected her fifth major — becoming the youngest player to achieve the feat — with a final-round 69 and a 16-under 272 total.
She won a comfortable four shots ahead of Brittany Lang of the US, who closed with a 67. Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson, the 2000 champion, claimed third place on 11-under after a 68 and South Korea’s Amy Yang was fourth on 10-under with a closing 67.
Taiwan’s Candie Kung (龔怡萍) finished tied for 14th place on five-under after a 69, while compatriot Amy Hung (洪沁慧) was tied for 30th after a 68 left her with a one-under 287 total.
It was Tseng’s second major of the season — she won the LPGA Championship by 10 shots in June — and it extended her lead at the head of the world rankings.
Tseng started the final round two shots behind Caroline Masson, but with the young German succumbing to the pressure, she took the lead by the time she had made her second birdie of the day at the long sixth.
She was four ahead at the turn and only made a slight stumble with bogeys at the 12th, where she hit her approach through the green, and at the short 13th, when she was unlucky to hit the pin with her tee shot and ricocheted into a horrible lie on the edge of a bunker.
With no one else mounting a serious threat, however, the powerful Tseng regained control with birdies at the long 14th and 17th and a five-foot putt for birdie at the 18th was the icing on the cake that earned the ￡239,000 (US$393,000) first prize.
“I feel so good,” a smiling Tseng said. “This is a great place to win my second British Open because there is so much history attached to the course. I started out feeling a little nervous, but it was much easier than last year. I knew I could trust myself. I think the key was the 10-foot putt I made to save par at the 15th. I had been struggling a bit with my putter, but that made me feel comfortable.”
Tseng is three years younger than Patty Berg was when she won her fifth major in 1943, and she is now halfway to matching former world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam’s total of 10. The Swede captured her 10th when she was 35.
Sherri Steinhauer was the last player to retain the British Open title, which became a major in 2001. The American won back-to-back at Woburn in 1998 and in 1999, before claiming her third title at Lytham St Annes in 2006. The only other player to win the title two years in a row was Debbie Massey of the US in 1980 and 1981.
“Last year helped a lot,” Tseng said. “I learned from my mistakes, and after a year I feel like my mentality is getting mature and I can hold under pressure better than last year, and I’m learning lots from my mistakes. I think I’ve done really well to be patient and to control the whole round today.”
Tseng went into last year’s final round at Royal Birkdale with a four-shot lead over Katherine Hull of Australia, but finished with a one-shot triumph after bogeying the 10th, while Hull birdied the 11th and 13th.
Tseng admitted being nervous and having a stomach ache.
“Normally if I come from behind, I don’t even feel nervous. I just go there, have no pressure, but today I feel like I was. I mean, when I practice I feel OK, but when I get to the putting green, when the tee time is getting closer and closer, my stomach is getting worse,” she said.