BANGKOK: Two-time defending champion Tseng Yani will seek her first victory in nearly a year at the Honda LPGA Thailand this week as she clings to her position as world number one.
The 24-year-old “Pride of Taiwan” has topped the world rankings for 106 weeks but she arrives at Pattaya’s Siam Country Club defending a precarious 1.29 points lead over South Korea’s Choi Na-Yeon.
One year ago, Tseng’s second straight win at the Thai event seemed to herald another season of dominance but the victories dried up in March, raising pressure on the young star.
However, Tseng got off to an encouraging start to the 2013 season last week when she carded a final round of 66 to finish second at the Women’s Australian Open, behind winner Shin Ji-Yai but ahead of teenage prodigy Lydia Ko.
“Those fans, they always give me 100 per cent support, they give me a clap even I don’t make a good shot,” Tseng said last week, when asked about her strong crowd support in Australia.
“They always encourage me and they’re always like, ‘Go Yani!’ and so it’s always so much fun. I always feel good to hear that on the golf course.”
Tseng leads a high-quality field featuring most of the Asian-dominated top 10 for the four-day event starting Thursday.
New Zealand amateur Ko, 15 is playing on a sponsor’s invite.