World No. 1 Tseng eyes first Singapore victory

Singapore: Yani Tseng of Taiwan, the No. 1 player in the world, will seek to win one of the few big tournaments she hasn’t yet conquered in her young career when she tees off at this week’s USD 1.4 million HSBC Women’s Champions.

The 23-year-old Tseng dominated women’s golf last year and is off to a hot start in 2012 with her victory at last week’s LPGA Thailand.

But a win in Singapore has eluded her since the tournament began in 2008, and she faces a field of 63 golfers featuring 18 of the 20 top-ranked when play starts Thursday at the par-72 Tanah Merah Country Club.

“Every year I have come closer and closer to winning this tournament,” Tseng said Wednesday. “All the best players are playing here this week and the golf course is really challenging so I can’t wait to go out there.”

Tseng solidified her hold at No. 1 with seven 2011 LPGA Tour victories last year, including major victories in the LPGA Championship and Women’s British Open. She had 12 worldwide victories last season and the five-time major champion has 33 career worldwide professional wins.

“Winning five majors at the age of 23 is very impressive,” world No. 3 Suzann Pettersen said. “She makes us even work harder.”

Australia’s Karrie Webb, who won last year’s tournament, compared Tseng to some of the greatest players in women’s golf history.

“I’ve played my career with Annika (Sorenstam), Se Ri Pak and Lorena (Ochoa) and now Yani,” said the 37-year-old Webb, who has 38 career LPGA Tour victories. “I’ve played with the best.”

American star Michelle Wie, ranked 18th in the world, said after she graduates from Stanford University next month she should have more time to focus on golf.

“I’m on track to graduate this March, so it’s going to be interesting,” Wie said. “It’s going to be the first time in my golfing career that I won’t have school, or school work to do.”

Bureau Report