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Golf - 18. February 2011.

Yani Tseng Hopes Number One Rule Applies at The HSBC Women’s Champions, Singapore


Yani Hopes Number One Rule Applies in Singapore

By Tim Maitland

New women’s world number one Yani Tseng is hoping that the HSBC Women’s
Champions rule that its winners belong to the exclusive club of top-ranked
players still applies when she gets to Singapore next week.

The three champions of the tournament at Tanah Merah come from the elite
group of six players to have been rated number one since the rankings were
introduced in 2006: Ai Miyazato of Japan, Korea’s Jiyai Shin and Lorena
Ochoa of Mexico.

“That sounds really good! Yeah! Thanks for reminding me of that!,” said the
22-year-old Taiwanese star, who is playing in the Honda LPGA Thailand this
weekend hoping to extend her 2011 record to four wins in four events.

“I’m really looking forward to this year. I know I have lots of confidence
right now and I can’t wait to get to Singapore and see my old friends, to
play that tournament and see all my HSBC friends over there. It’ll be pretty
nice,” said Tseng, who is eager to test herself on the Garden Course after
winning the Taifong Ladies Open on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour and claiming
the Handa Women’s Australian Open and the ANZ Ladies Masters in Queensland
in successive weeks.

“It’s a great golf course. You can play all 14 clubs on that course; it’s
not just driver-wedge, driver-wedge. You hit a three wood off the tee, you
hit a rescue off the tee all the different kinds of shots you have to hit.
You really need to focus on what your strategy is and every hole is
different. Some of the par fives are reachable, which makes it more fun and
then there are island greens; it’s just a fun golf course to play. You never
know the winning score and there are big crowds too,” she says.

However Tseng will face fierce competition to keep hold of her number one
ranking both this week in Thailand and when she gets to Singapore. As well
as 2009 HSBC Women’s Champions winner Jiyai Shin, who Tseng toppled from top
spot on the Rolex Rankings at the start of this week, Suzann Pettersen,
Cristie Kerr and Na Yeon Choi are all one win away from taking the number
one ranking away.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for golf at the moment. We had Lee
Westwood arrive at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai last November as the new
number one with Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer and Phil Mickleson all with the
opportunity to toppling him that week and it made for a great tournament.
The HSBC Women’s Champions is going to have that same buzz and excitement,”
said Giles Morgan, HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship.

“Last year was the first time that a tournament in Asia had impacted the
very top of the men’s world rankings, now we have young talented Asian women
fighting for the right to be world number one in an world-class event in
Singapore. It all proves Asia’s emerging in to the top echelons of the
golfing world,” he added.

For Tseng, just being able to return to the Lion City as number one, to a
place where she played and won some of her earliest junior tournaments as a
girl, will be a memorable moment.

“That would be great! I’d really wish that. I’m trying not to think too much
about only staying number one for one week, but sometimes you never know. I
really just want to stay focused and keep working hard,” she says.

“When I first started playing [tournaments] in Singapore, I didn’t even
think of being women’s number one; I just came to play and to try and win
those championships. I didn’t think about the world. I didn’t even know how
big the world is. It’s only since I went to the United States that I started
to know how big it is. But all the tournaments I won in Singapore gave me a
lot of confidence too. I’d win a tournament, come back the next year and win
again.”

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