Thu, Feb 24, 2011 - Page 18 News List

In-form Yani Tseng gunning for trophy at Women’s Champions in Singapore

AFP, SINGAPORE

Newly crowned world No. 1 Yani Tseng has her eyes set on lifting a trophy for the fourth time in four weeks when the HSBC Women’s Champions golf tournament tees off this week in Singapore.

The 22-year-old Taiwanese star is in imperious form, having won three straight tournaments in the past three weeks including the season-opening LPGA Thailand event in Pattaya that ended on Sunday.

Prior to Thailand, she also chalked up two consecutive wins on the Ladies European Tour in Australia and took top honors at a small pro event in Taiwan last month.

Tseng’s double victories in Australia propelled her to the top spot in women’s golf for the first time in her young career when the ranking list was released earlier this month.

CONFIDENCE

“I feel lots of confidence ... I am looking forward to win this one and I will just keep working hard and do my best,” said Tseng, who needs only a US Women’s Open title to complete a career Grand Slam.

She has lifted the trophy at the 2008 LPGA Championship, the 2010 Kraft Nabisco Championship and 2010 Women’s British Open.

If she wins in July in Colorado Springs, she will be the youngest woman to complete a career Slam.

A victory at the US$1.4 million Singapore event will also cement Tseng’s grip on the No. 1 ranking that has changed hands a few times since the retirement of Mexican Lorena Ochoa in May last year.

“Like last six months, everybody had the chance to become world No. 1, it was very challenging and it’s fun to watch, fun to play and I learned lots of things from the other players,” Tseng said.

“You just keep learning and keep working hard,” she added at a news conference on Tuesday in Singapore.

Reigning US Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer says the see-saw battle for the No. 1 ranking is healthy for the game, keeping it interesting for the fans and players alike.

“Yani has been winning four tournaments in a row, but at the same time, it just shows the strength of the LPGA Tour,” the 24-year-old American said.

“I think we need that competition at the top, it keeps things very interesting. You just have to work that much harder and it’s nice, I think that right now that women’s golf needs rivalries,” she said.

Defending champion Ai Miyazato, who held the No. 1 spot for 11 weeks last year, is -looking for another successful outing at the tournament that will be played at the Tanah Merah Country Club’s par-72 course.

“I had such a great memory from last year in this tournament because I won,” the Japanese star said. “I am looking forward to defending my title this week, but anyone is going to be playing good ... So I can’t pick the specific person, but I [will] just focus on my game and try my best this week.”

HEALTHY TUSSLE

Miyazato also agrees the tussle for the top ranking is healthy for the game.

“Of course being No. 1 is my biggest goal, but since last year it seems to be tough to keep the No. 1 position for everyone I think because all the players [are] playing really, really solid,” she said. “That’s why it is tough to keep the top position, but it’s been a very good experience too because we never had this situation before.”

“I think this is really good for fans as well like who is going to win this week or who’s gonna be the No. 1 again and it’s really interesting to watch, I think,” she said.

American star Michelle Wie, who finished runner-up to Tseng in Thailand, and world No. 2 Shin Ji-Yai of South Korea are also regarded as strong contenders to lift the trophy in Singapore this week.

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