Yani Tseng has come a long way since making Oak Valley Golf Club in Beaumont her home base when she arrived in the United States from Taiwan several years ago.
Tseng rose to No. 2 in the World Golf Rankings when she blew away the field by seven strokes to successfully defend her title in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open at Commonwealth Golf Club in Melbourne.
“It’s always been my goal to be No.1 and I think I’m getting a little closer,” said Tseng, who won three times in 2010, when she was selected LPGA Tour Player of the Year.
“I hit the ball very solid this week every day.
“I felt really good with my swing and feel very confident. Just need to bring that confidence to my whole year.”
Tseng, whose 12 professional victories include three major titles, joined Karrie Webb of Australia, a four-time winner of the tournament, as the only players to successfully defend the Australian Women’s Open title. Webb accomplished the feat in 2007 and 2008.
The 22-year-old Tseng, who defeated Michelle Wie in the final of the 2004 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, posted a score of 70-67-68-71–276, 16-under-par, and pocketed the winner’s check of $90,000.
“It feels very good to win by seven shots,” said Tseng, who last year captured two majors, the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open. “I have not had that feeling before and it feels very good. And I enjoyed the crowd on the 18th hole. I always enjoy it here. I love the city, I love the people and all the volunteers. They are very nice to me.
“I just feel more confident and relaxed. Before I was thinking too much and trying to win. Now I know I don’t need it. I stay focused on my swing and play one shot at a time. I know I can win.”
Jiyai Shin of South Korea, the No. 1 women’s player in the world, shot 67-72-69-75–283, and tied for second with Melissa Reid of England, who finished at 70-73-72-68–283, and Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea, who wound up at 69-70-70-74–283.
Jennifer Song of USC and South Korea was fifth at 67-73-74-71–285, and Katherine Hull of Pepperdine and Australia totaled 73-71-76-76–298 to finished in a tie for seventh that included Webb, who came in at 72-71-74-70–287. Mariajo Uribe of UCLA and Colombia, the 2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, tied for 12th at 72-70-70-77–289.
Hannah Jun of San Diego and UCLA shot 72-74-69-75–290 and tied for 15th with Christina Kim of San Jose and DeAnza College, who wound up at 76-68-71-75–290, and Tiffany Joh of San Diego and UCLA, who finished at 70-72-71-77–290.
Mina Harigae of Monterey and Duke tied for 35th at 74-70-73-77–294 and Alison Walshe of the University of Arizona and Westford, Mass., totaled 74-74-72-77–297 to tie for 45th with Lindsey Wright of Pepperdine and Australia, who came in at 73-73-74-77–297.
Tamie Durdin of Pepperdine and Australia carded a score of 73-76-77-74–300 and tied for 54th with Louis Friberg of the University of Washington and Sweden, who finished at 72-77-75-76–300.
Beth Allen of Ojai and Cal State Northridge tied for 59th at 71-78-76-77–302, Leanne Bowditch of Pepperdine and Australia finished 65th at 76-73-75-79–303, and Ryann O’Toole of San Clemente and UCLA was 71st at 76-73-78-82–309.
By Tom LaMarre
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