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Yani Tseng hoping Number 1 rule applies in Singapore
February 18, 2011

New women’s world number one Yani Tseng is hoping that the HSBC Women’s Champions rule that its winners belong to the exclusive club of top-ranked players still applies when she gets to Singapore next week. Tim Maitland reports.

The three champions of the tournament at Tanah Merah come from the elite group of six players to have been rated number one since the rankings were introduced in 2006: Ai Miyazato of Japan, Korea’s Jiyai Shin and Lorena Ochoa of Mexico.

“That sounds really good! Yeah! Thanks for reminding me of that!,” said Tseng, who is playing in the Honda LPGA Thailand this weekend hoping to extend her 2011 record to four wins in four events.

Yani Tseng (Photo: Getty Images)“I’m trying. I’m working out with my coach Gary Gilchrist and I’ve been changing my swing and I think my swing is better now. I’ve been working on my putting; my putting has always been sometimes up and sometimes down, but I’m working to be more consistent. My putting is working pretty well and I think everything is all set.

“I’m really looking forward to this year. I know I have lots of confidence right now and I can’t wait to get to Singapore and see my old friends, to play that tournament and see all my HSBC friends over there. It’ll be pretty nice,” said the 22-year-old Taiwanese star, who is eager to test herself on the Garden Course after winning the Taifong Ladies Open on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour and claiming the Handa Women’s Australian Open and the ANZ Ladies Masters in Queensland in successive weeks.

“It’s a great golf course. You can play all 14 clubs on that course; it’s not just driver-wedge, driver-wedge. You hit a three wood off the tee, you hit a rescue off the tee all the different kinds of shots you have to hit. You really need to focus on what your strategy is and every hole is different. Some of the par fives are reachable, which makes it more fun and then there are island greens; it’s just a fun golf course to play. You never know the winning score and there are big crowds too,” she says.

However Tseng will face fierce competition to keep hold of her number one ranking both this week in Thailand and when she gets to Singapore. As well as 2009 HSBC Women’s Champions winner Jiyai Shin, who Tseng toppled from top spot on the Rolex Rankings at the start of this week, Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr and Na Yeon Choi are all one win away from taking the number one ranking away.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for golf at the moment. We had Lee Westwood arrive at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai last November as the new number one with Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer and Phil Mickleson all with the opportunity to toppling him that week and it made for a great tournament. The HSBC Women’s Champions is going to have that same buzz and excitement,” said Giles Morgan, HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship.

“Last year was the first time that a tournament in Asia had impacted the very top of the men’s world rankings, now we have young talented Asian women fighting for the right to be world number one in an world-class event in Singapore. It all proves Asia’s emerging in to the top echelons of the golfing world,” he added.

Yani Tseng playing the 6th during the 2010 HSBC Women’s Champions

For Tseng, just being able to return to the Lion City as number one, to a place where she played and won some of her earliest junior tournaments as a girl, will be a memorable moment.

“That would be great! I’d really wish that. I’m trying not to think too much about only staying number one for one week, but sometimes you never know. I really just want to stay focused and keep working hard,” she says.

“When I first started playing [tournaments] in Singapore, I didn’t even think of being women’s number one; I just came to play and to try and win those championships. I didn’t think about the world. I didn’t even know how big the world is. It’s only since I went to the United States that I started to know how big it is. But all the tournaments I won in Singapore gave me a lot of confidence too. I’d win a tournament, come back the next year and win again.”



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