Former world No. 1 golfer Yani Tseng said yesterday she was happy to be back in Taiwan for the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship and felt that she would have an advantage on her home turf.
“I’m very happy to be home, to be back to a familiar place,” the 24-year-old Taiwanese player said at a press conference in Taoyuan County also attended by Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, and Americans Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson.
Tseng, whose ranking has fallen to 25th in the world, said she had a good practice round yesterday, despite gusting winds, and she was looking forward to her home tournament.
“The LPGA events in Asia over the past three weeks have been good preparation for this tournament” said Tseng, who finished third in Taiwan on the LPGA Tour last year.
Tseng goes into the event looking to recapture some of the form and consistency that kept her ranked in the top 10 in the world from mid-2008 to July.
She showed signs of playing better on the first leg of the LPGA Tour’s fall Asian swing, the Reignwood LPGA Classic, in which she finished sixth, but then struggled at the next stop in Malaysia and finished tied for 27th at the HanaBank Championship in South Korea last weekend.
“There have been ups and downs, but I know anything can happen. This is how playing a sport works,” Tseng said of her difficulties over the past year. “Returning to Taiwan, I’ve forgotten the happiness and disappointments of the past. I’m not setting a goal for the week; I just hope not to disappoint the fans and have fun playing the course.”
This year’s event in Taiwan, which carries a purse of US$2 million, will tee off tomorrow at the Sunrise Golf and Country Club in Yangmei.
Four of the top 10 players on the LPGA Tour’s money list will be taking part in the four-day tournament. They are Pettersen, Thompson, Spain’s Beatriz Recari and South Korea’s Choi Na-yeon.
Two other players among the top 10 money winners this year, South Koreans Inbee Park and Ryu So-yeon, have pulled out of the event.
The Sunrise Golf and Country Club is hosting the tournament for the third year in a row, but is in the final year of a three-year contract with the US-based LPGA.
Hsu Tien-ya, president of the Golf Association of the Republic of China and chairman of the club, has said he hopes a new sponsor can take over the tournament in the future.