SHE DIDN’T PLAY LIKE a rookie. First-year LPGA Tour player Yani Tseng shot 65-68 on the weekend and outlasted Marie Hjorth in a four-hole sudden-death playoff to win the 2008 McDonald’s LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock.
It was quite a twofer for Tseng − both her first LPGA Tour win and first major. And it helped propel Tseng up the women’s world golf rankings, where she now sits at No. 2 behind Lorena Ochoa. She went on to be selected as the 2008 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year.
Recently coming off her second LPGA Tour win at the 2009 Corning Classic, Tseng is primed for her first title defense. Uncorking tee shots with her Adams Golf driver, Tseng is the longest hitter on the women’s circuit, averaging more than 275 yards. This week she returns to the same course where her power game helped separate her from the field.
The year’s second major, the McDonald’s LPGA Championship appears to be wide open. No player has dominated the season thus far. Ochoa is the only multiple winner, but she hasn’t shown the same form as in the past two seasons.
In a media conference call last Thursday, Golf Channel’s Beth Daniel and Dottie Pepper both wondered if Cristie Kerr might grab her second major. With a win at the Michelob ULTRA Open and other top finishes, Kerr is definitely having a good season. She narrowly missed winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship when she stumbled on one of the closing holes.
On another note, this will be McDonald’s final year as the sponsor of the LPGA Championship, more bad news for the LPGA Tour.
“There’s so many tournaments up for renewal,” Kerr said. “It can be pretty overwhelming thinking about it.”
“It’s unfortunate,” Paula Creamer said. “McDonald’s has been a wonderful sponsor for the LPGA Tour and it’s sad that we have lost them.”
As for her chances this week to win the final McDonald’s LPGA Championship and her first major, Creamer said, “I feel like I’m a tough competitor and I feel like it’s about timing. Hopefully, I can put four good rounds of golf together.”
Turned pro: 2007
Residence: Orlando, Florida
World ranking: 2
Professional wins: 4
LPGA Tour wins: 2
Major wins: 1
Equipment: Adams Golf
−The Armchair Golfer
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