Fresh off her come-from-behind victory in the LPGA Northwest Arkansas Championship, “Taiwan’s pride” Yani Tseng returned home to an enthusiastic welcome from family and friends yesterday.
Tseng, who topped Michelle Wie by a shot after trailing by three shots entering the final round, said after her arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport that winning a career Grand Slam is her next goal.
Of the 21-year-old’s five LPGA titles won during her career, three have been majors. Her latest victory in Arkansas was her first in a non-major this year, following wins at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April and the RICOH Women’s British Open last month.
Tseng won the LPGA Championship in 2008, leaving the US Women’s Open as the one major she has yet to win. According to the LPGA Web site, only seven players in history have completed career Grand Slams.
The US$300,000 top prize in Arkansas pushed Tseng to second on the LPGA’s official money list with US$1.42 million in winnings this year, second only to Jiyai Shin of South Korea, who has won US$1.46 million.
The victory also helped Tseng vault past Norway’s Suzann Petersen to fourth in the Rolex world rankings.
Tseng was all smiles when she saw her parents and grandmother and a large crowd of her former classmates from elementary school and National Taiwan Sport University waiting for her in the airport’s reception area.
On her latest win, Tseng said that though she started Sunday’s final round three shots behind Wie, she came to believe that she would win the tournament after the front nine.
“I told myself I needed to be more focused on the course and play better if I wanted to win,” said Tseng, who also spent plenty of time during the final round talking to her ball and clubs to push herself to victory.
Aside from setting her sights on next year’s US Women’s Open to complete the career Grand Slam, she also hopes to attain the No. 1 ranking, currently held by Japan’s Ai Miyazato. Tseng has been ranked as high as second during her career.
“Emerging as the world’s top golfer has been my life goal. I must work even harder in the years ahead to realize my dream,” she said.
On Taiwan’s success in gaining the right to host an LPGA Tour event next year — something the she has been outspoken about in the past — Tseng said she was very happy to hear the news.
“Many of my LPGA peers look forward to the event and have begun asking me about Taiwan’s major tourist attractions,” she said.
After a four-day stay in Taipei, Tseng will travel to Japan to take part in two LPGA Japan Tour events — the Miyagi TV Cup Dunlop Women’s Open from Sept. 24 to Sept. 26 and the Japan Women’s Open Golf Championship from Oct. 1 to Oct. 4.