Taiwan`s Tseng wins fourth major golf title

Rochester: World No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan captured her fourth major title in overwhelming fashion, firing a final-round six-under par 66 to win the LPGA Championship by 10 strokes.

The 22-year-old Asian star became the youngest player to collect a fourth career major title, having previously taken last year`s Kraft Nabisco and Women`s British Open crowns as well as the 2008 LPGA Championship.

"I don`t think about being the youngest," Tseng said. "I just focus on the shots and the tournament."

Tseng finished 72 holes on 19-under par 269 to complete a wire-to-wire victory for her eighth career LPGA crown.

Asked if she has ever played better, Tseng said, "I don`t think so, especially because this is a major."

American Morgan Pressel was second on 279, one stroke ahead of compatriots Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr and Norway`s Suzann Pettersen. South Korean Meena Lee and American Stacy Lewis, the year`s first major winner, were on 282.

Tseng also led this year`s first major, the Kraft Nabisco, after 54 holes in April but touched the trophy before the start of the last round, went on to fire a 74 and lost to Lewis.

Tseng will have the chance to complete a career Grand Slam in two weeks at the US Women`s Open in Colorado on the same Broadmoor course where Tseng`s friend and role model, retired legend Annika Sorenstam, won her first major.

"I`m just going to talk to Annika, get some tips, go to the swimming pool and then head for the mountains," Tseng said. "I think I have a chance (to win for the career Slam) the way I`m playing now. That sounds really good."

Sorenstam, a 10-time major champion from Sweden, lives only a long chip shot from Tseng in Florida after Tseng bought Sorenstam`s former home. Sorenstam warned current players that Tseng`s best might very well be yet to come.

"She`s playing some amazing golf. The way she is playing a major is really, really impressive," Sorenstam said. "She is the new face of the LPGA. She`s great for the game.”

"She still has some things to improve. Once she does, she is going to be hard to stop."

Tseng became the first player since retired Mexican star Lorena Ochoa in 2008 to win a major after winning her prior LPGA event, having won the State Farm Classic two weeks ago.

Taiwan prodigy Tseng is a former teen training partner of Northern Ireland`s Rory McIlroy, who won his first major title last week at the US Open at age 22.

While McIlroy hopes to become a dominant figure on the men`s side beyond a single triumph, Tseng has already served notice this is her era in majors as well as this season.

Tseng won her first four events of the year, the first in Taiwan, the next two in Australia and the LPGA season opener in Thailand.

After waking up with a five-stroke lead, Tseng appeared to open the door for her pursuers with a bogey at the first. But Tseng birdied the next three holes and birdied the sixth and par-5 eighth to pull away.

"I just told myself, `It`s only the first hole. It`s better than a bogey on 10 or 18,`" Tseng said. "I just told myself to be patient and try to get it back."

Tseng also birdied the next par-5 hole, the 11th, before taking another bogey at the 13th. Tseng responded with a birdie at 14 and another at the par-5 17th to reach 19-under and stretch her lead to double digits.

Tseng marched up to the 18th green to applause to find her ball 15 feet from the cup for a closing birdie. The putt rolled up just short but she dropped in a two-footer to finish off the triumph, then raised her arms to celebrate.

"I had very good emotions," Tseng said. "I felt so many people supporting me. I really feel appreciated."

Pettersen was already playing to prepare for the US Women`s Open because Tseng was so far ahead.

"I just tried to grind it out and find something for the Open," Pettersen said. "I found a little something but it was too late. Yani is playing really well out here. She`s going to be a tough competitor all year around."

Bureau Report

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