World No. 1 Yani Tseng said her offseason training is paying dividends as she chases a second straight tournament win in the HSBC Women’s Champions event teeing off today.
Tseng, who enjoyed a stellar season last year, is firing again after she defended her Honda LPGA Thailand title with a stunning iron to the final green for a 2 foot birdie putt to edge out Japan’s Ai Miyazato.
The Taiwanese star, who finished tied eighth in the season-opening Australian Open, believes her focus on adjusting her swing is paying off.
“I have been working on my swing and changing a little bit to get more consistency and I think it helps a lot,” Tseng said ahead of the US$1.4 million Singapore tournament.
“I had a good warmup in Melbourne and tried to get used to my swing and then I played so well last week,” she said.
Tseng, who turned 23 last month, said the minor swing change was also to help with niggling elbow injuries.
“I’ve had an injury in my elbow for a long time and I think this is going to help get rid of it too,” she said.
Tseng won seven LPGA Tour victories and topped the money list with US$2.92 million last year, becoming the youngest player ever, male or female, to capture five majors after claiming the Women’s British Open.
In doing so at 22, she erased the previous record held by US former world No. 1 Tiger Woods, who was 24 when he set the mark.
“If I say no pressure, that’s not going to be real,” Tseng said when asked if she was feeling the weight of expectation to match her achievements last year.
“But last week my win [in Thailand] gave me a lot of confidence. I feel good this week. I think I am going to enjoy this week,” she said.
Tseng has never won the Singapore event held at the Tanah Merah Country Club par-72 -Garden Course and wants to better her third-place finish last year.
However, defending champion Karrie Webb said the confidence she gained from last year’s victory would help her fend off the surging Tseng.
“I think as defending champion you obviously have the best memories from before and I think I try to use those positive memories to help encourage me and motivate me to play well again,” the seven-time major winner said.
The Australian believes she is finding her form after she finished tied for 56th in Melbourne and joint-ninth in Thailand last week.
“I was pretty happy with the way I played last week,” said Webb, who has 38 LPGA Tour victories. “It was definitely a marked improvement from Royal Melbourne. I think my game was probably not quite ready for Royal Melbourne, but it got the rust off pretty quickly.”
Other contenders include Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and US duo Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr.