Sep
11
2011
Tseng Snags Fifth Victory of Year
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA

Yani "calls the hogs" after winning the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship

Yani Tseng successfully defended her title at the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday, rolling in a four-footer for birdie on the first playoff hole to beat Amy Yang. Entering the final round tied with Tseng, Yang held the advantage for most of the day, making three birdies in the first seven holes, followed by 11 straight pars on her way to a bogey-free 68.

For the hour or so that I watched, Yani looked exasperated, especially after a three-putt bogey on 13. It was Yang’s to win, but Yani told herself to stay patient and then channeled her energy into carding birdies in two of the last five holes to catch Yang, who is still looking for her first LPGA victory despite several close calls and two wins on the Ladies European Tour.

Yani had a chance to close out the tournament on the 18th hole in regulation, but missed a four-foot birdie putt.

“I almost cried because today like in the middle of the round I feel like oh, I’m going to lose today because in my mind I don’t feel excitement — I don’t make any birdies,” said Yani, the No. 1 player in the world, in her post-win presser. “But I just told myself I need to get excited, more focused, try to stretch, move around…Like the last few holes I make some birdies so that was very important for me.”

Most crucial was her birdie on the 14th to swing the momentum back in her direction.

“On No. 14 — that’s a very huge one,” she said. “I chipped on and made that 20‑footer for birdie, so I think that’s the one that made me get back in the position again.”

Tseng’s other victories of the season — including two majors — came at the Honda LPGA Thailand, LPGA State Farm Classic, Wegmans LPGA Championship and RICOH Women’s British Open.

Hoping for a dominant player in golf? Well, look no further — Yani is charismatic, fan friendly, speaks English (!), and without a doubt, the best player in the world. I just wish she’d move the needle in America like she deserves. On the upside, women’s golf has turned into a global tour with events held all over the world, but it’s tough to increase popularity on the domestic level.

As for coverage Sunday in the final round, it’s nearly impossible to compete with the NFL’s opening weekend and the US Open women’s finals.

(AP Photo/Beth Hall)