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Tseng Yani eyes up second major title

Tseng Yani of Taiwan has been dreaming about returning to Maryland horse country for the LPGA Championship, which she won last year as a 19-year-old tour rookie and starts at Bulle Rock on Thursday.

“I’m very excited to come back here again,” Tseng told a news conference on Tuesday. “I have a lot of good memories here, and it’s just really exciting.

“I’ve been looking forward to this tournament for a long time, and I’m ready to kick some …,” she said, breaking off her comment with a giggle.

“I’m just looking forward for the tournament.”

Tseng won the major championship on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff against Sweden’s Maria Hjorth.

Top contenders in the 151-player field for the year’s second major include world number one Loreno Ochoa, leading money winner Cristie Kerr, Kraft Nabisco winner Brittany Lincicome and Michelle Wie, hoping for her LPGA breakthrough.

The long-hitting Tseng warmed up for her defense by winning last month’s Corning Classic for her second LPGA victory, ending a string of near misses that included five runner-up spots last year and another second place this season.

Tseng said she has been lavished with attention back home but that her fans were anxious for more success.

“Everyone just go crazy,” she said about the reaction back home following her LPGA Championship triumph. “And then everyone is thinking, ‘Oh, when are you going to win the next major?’

“It was very exciting and I became more famous. When I go back to Taiwan, and sometimes when I walk on the street, they want me to show them my swing. Even when I’m doing shopping or I’m with my friends. I became more famous in Taiwan and I’m very happy about that.”

Tseng said she had dinner with a leading Taiwanese official in Washington this week before heading to Bulle Rock.

“I want to be like (South Korean Pak) Se-Ri to help all of the kids and juniors in Taiwan play golf and try to help a lot of things in Taiwan golf,” she said.

Tseng will have to contend with a long course playing even longer due to heavy spring rains and a torrential downpour on Tuesday that further softened the 6,641-yard, Pete Dye layout.

“The course is playing tougher and longer this week compared to last year,” she said. “It’s in great shape. It’s good for me. I feel the rough is long, but just stay out of the rough, keep it in the fairway and on the green and that’s it.”

 

June 10, 2009




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