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Tseng back in form in Canada?
August 23, 2012

Yani Tseng -6, Rolex Rankings No. 1
Na Yeon Choi -5, Rolex Rankings No. 4
Inbee Park -4, Rolex Rankings No. 11
Lydia Ko -4, (a)
Mindy Kim -3, Rolex Rankings No. 119
Moira Dunn -3, Rolex Rankings No. 358
Lorie Kane E, Rolex Rankings No. 205
Brooke Henderson +5, Canadian amateur

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng looked to be back to her old form on Thursday, firing a 6-under 66 to take sole possession of the first-round lead at the CN Canadian Women’s Open outside Vancouver. Tseng leads by one over 2012 U.S. Women’s Open champion Na Yeon Choi. It marks the first time that Tseng has led or co-led at the end of a round since she shared the third-round lead with Karin Sjodin at the Kraft Nabisco Championship back in March.

Tseng tallied eight birdies and one double bogey in her opening round at the Vancouver Golf Club. The 23-year-old is no stranger to this golf course, having won a CN Canadian Women’s Tour event here back in 2007. But the biggest key for Tseng’s recent resurgence, having also recorded an 11th place finish at last week’s Safeway Classic, has been a return of her confidence

“It's very important for me,” said Tseng, who had missed the cut in three of her previous four events before last week’s strong finish. “I mean, this week if I missed a couple of shots I don't worry about it, not like before. I feel like this is the way I used to play, so if I hit the best shot, I just try to recover from there. If not, if I make bogey, I try to make birdie the next hole, so I'm not worried.

“But like the last couple of months, it seems like I'm worried too much. I don't know if I can make birdie again. But today on No. 1, my 10th hole, I make double there. But I make like five birdies on the back, so that was very good.”

Na Yeon Choi has already captured one national championship this season, the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open, and now she’s trying to add a second one to the list. Choi fired a 5-under 67 on Thursday and sits one shot behind first-round leader Yani Tseng.

Choi tallied seven birdies and two bogeys in her round at the Vancouver Golf Club on a day that featured quirky weather conditions, including a mix of rain, sun and cooler temperatures.The rain, which was off and on throughout the day, was actually a benefit for the players as many had remarked about the difficulty of the greens early in the week.

“Last two, three days, I think the course is very firm, even fairway and greens,” said Choi. “Greens are fast, especially downhill. But after it rained a little bit, I think the course seemed very soft and slow on the green.”

Na Yeon Choi has never been to Vancouver before but she acknowledged that she has a special connection with the city. Choi’s English tutor of the past couple years, Greg Morrison, is from the area and although he’s not here with her this week, she has an additional cheering group this week.

“I'm pretty sure his parents are out there and they support me,” Choi said. “So I feel really comfortable. This is my first trip in Vancouver, but I feel very comfortable because maybe I heard a lot of things here from my English tutor.”

In addition to feeling comfortable with her knowledge of the city, Choi also found another little piece of “home” in the area.

“I go to a Korean restaurant every meal if I can and last night I found a great restaurant,” Choi said. “It tastes like my mom cooks. So maybe even tonight I'm going to go again.”

For the eighth event in a row, Inbee Park found herself sitting near the top of the leaderboard. With seven top-10 finishes in the last seven events, the South Korean has gotten comfortable leading the pack but refuses to boast in these achievements.

“I don't really think about this is my eighth week in the top-10 or seventh week in the top-10,” Park said. “I try to not think about that and just play week by week. That's been working really good. I've been hitting it really good and putting it really good, so I think that helped.”

In the midst of her most successful season on the LPGA Tour, Park’s consistency has given her confidence that she hopes will carry throughout this week and future events.

“Starting low, you just put yourself in a really good position going into the weekend,” Park said. “If you're too far behind going into the weekend, it's really tough to shoot a low number on the weekends. But you're really confident with your game and you put a low score in the first two rounds, that gives you a lot of confidence so you can do better.”

With spurts of rain showers throughout the day, LPGA players were thankful for the weather changes. It was a consensus among the ladies that the conditions during Thursday’s round changed the course to their benefit.

“I think this (rain) is going to help a little bit,” said Moira Dunn, who is tied for fifth heading into Friday. “I think it might throw people off a little bit. It softened it a little bit, and without the sun drying it out. I think it's going to play not quite as difficult today. We'll see what happens for the rest of the week.”

Mindy Kim, who is tied with Dunn, put herself in perfect position on the greens today. She found herself below the pin many times today, a place she aims to be on every hole.

“It's definitely faster if you're above the pins,” Kim said. “You don't want to be long from any pin. It was just being short of the pin, I think, is key here because (the greens) were really firm today, even with the rain.”

Not many 14-year-olds would feel comfortable playing alongside LPGA greats that they grew up admiring. But for Brooke Henderson, she felt like she belonged with them. She teed of this morning with fellow Canadian Alena Sharp and rookie Mo Martin, who both helped ease her nerves throughout the round.

“Alena is so nice and a great player too,” Henderson said. “I'm glad I got my first LPGA event playing with her and Mo Martin. It was awesome. There are definitely things that I can learn from them. Definitely I'm going to take this experience so I can feel more comfortable in later years.”

“I'm very comfortable where I am. I've learned when I come home to play in the CN Canadian Women's Open, I want to enjoy it and entertain and embrace the fans. A little bit of rain today maybe kept a few people away, but, hopefully, tomorrow will continue to come and make some donations to that Miracle Match.” – Lorie Kane on playing in her home country

Defending champion Brittany Lincicome shot an even-par 72 in Thursday’s opening round. There are 15 Canadians in the field this week and the top Canadian finisher after round one was LPGA veteran Lorie Kane, who shot an even-par 72. New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko shot a 4-under 68 in Thursday’s first round and was tied for fourth.


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