Sat, Oct 08, 2011 - Page 19 News List

LPGA: Tseng sinks 10 birdies to set early pace in S Korea

SHINING:Choi Na-yeon, who has won the tournament the past two years, was paired with Yani Tseng and said the Taiwanese was playing with new-found confidence

AFP, INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA

Taiwan’s Yani Tseng tees off at the third hole during the first round of the LPGA Hana Bank Championship in Incheon, South Korea, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

World No. 1 Yani Tseng shot a course-record seven-under 65 to lead by a shot over Chella Choi after the first round of the LPGA Hana Bank Championship in South Korea yesterday.

Home hope Choi Na-yeon, who is gunning for a third straight crown at the Sky72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course in Incheon, was lurking two strokes back from Tseng, along with Sandra Gal of Germany.

“I don’t want to think too much,” said 22-year-old Tseng, who has been the dominating force on the LPGA Tour this season, including two majors that made her the youngest golfer in history to reach five career major titles. “But I want to work on my putting, my game, kind of get tempo back. It gets very windy when we play the back nine, so I need to control the ball better.”

Tseng tallied 10 birdies and three bogeys to shoot the lowest round at the tournament since it moved to the Sky72 Golf Club in 2008.

Meanwhile, Tseng’s compatriots, Amy Hung and Candie Kung, got off to slow starts, both shooting two-over 74s.

Hung struggled on the front-nine, as she bogeyed three straight and double-bogeyed the ninth, before holing three birdies on the back-nine to pull herself back into contention.

Kung mixed two birdies with four bogeys in her effort.

Two-time defending champion Choi Na-yeon got off to a strong start, firing a 67 while paired with Tseng.

Choi Na-yeon said that the last time she played with Tseng was in February at the HSBC Women’s Champions and she noticed a significant difference in the confidence level of the world’s top-ranked player.

“She looks a totally different person, very strong and confident walking, everything,” Choi Na-yeon said. “I’m very impressed with her playing today. I’m very satisfied at what I played today, too.”

Choi Na-yeon did not record a single bogey in her round, tallying five birdies to put herself within two shots of the lead.

While she said she has tried not to think about trying for a three-peat this week in her home country, she added that it’s not the easiest thing to keep off her mind.

“I mean, I try to put less pressure on myself, but still some pressure in my heart and in my head,” she said. “Really, I tried to use that pressure in a good way. It’s more focus or really try more than 100 percent every shot. It was good today, everything, like emotion control, everything was good today.”

Meanwhile, compatriot Chella Choi is still looking for her first win on the LPGA Tour and it would undoubtedly be extra special for that victory to come in her home country.

Chella Choi, who grew up an hour away from where the tournament is being held, said: “I like this golf course. It’s in great shape and I’m very excited about this tournament because it is my country, and my mom and my family came here.”

She eagled the par-five 13th and had four birdies to go along with one bogey en route to shooting her lowest round of the season.

Additional reporting by Staff writer

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