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Yani Tseng favourite for season's first major
March 29, 2012

Last year a near-miss in the Kraft Nabisco Championship proved potent fuel for Taiwan's Yani Tseng, the world number one who starts as overwhelming favorite in the first women's major of the year.

Tseng, the 2010 champion at Mission Hills, settled for a runner-up finish last year behind American Stacy Lewis.

She said that the defeat—in which Lewis overtook her in a final-round duel—helped motivate her in a 2011 season that eventually included 12 global titles—seven of them on the LPGA tour and two of them at majors.

"That experience gave me lots of things that improved myself, last year through this year," she said. "I know my emotional control wasn't very good. I was very stressed after I missed a putt, after I made a bad shot.

"But after that tournament, I had a little meeting with my team, my trainer, to see how much I can improve on the tournament, and I did after that. I learned how can I win in a tournament when I was leading on Sunday or when I was behind on Sunday, and I know how to play golf better on Sunday instead of just playing Sunday like the first day of a tournament."

The lessons have clearly stuck.

Tseng has won six of the last 12 events she entered—including three LPGA tour wins that have taken her total on the circuit to 15.

"Right now Yani doesn't have as much competition as maybe she even wants, so we all need to practice a little bit harder and we need to go out there and challenge her more often because right now she's beating us pretty badly," said American Morgan Pressel, who made LPGA Tour history in 2007 when she became the youngest major champion at 18 years, 10 months, and eight days old, with a one-stroke victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

"So we need to step up our games. So I think that it's good for competition and good for women's golf."

Pressel said it's hard to believe her victory was five years ago.

"It's almost like you need to step back and take a breather and really enjoy everything that has happened out here, both the good and the bad," she said. "It's not a life full of roses, but it's a challenge. But it's a fun challenge."

Norwegian veteran Suzann Pettersen calls Tseng "phenomenal" but added the key to beating her is to stay focused on her own game.

"I still think it's possible to play better than her, and that's what I believe," Pettersen said. "I believe in my own game. I know what I've done in the past, and I know what I'm capable of doing.

"I don't try to compare myself to other players. I know if I can finish what I've started, I think I can be pretty good."








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