Tseng aiming for rare LPGA three-peat as tour returns to Honda Thailand

Yani Tseng
Getty Images
Yani Tseng is trying to join an elite group of nine LPGA Tour players who have won a single event three straight times.
Associated Press

Series: LPGA Tour

Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 | 6:12 p.m.

CHONBURI, Thailand -- Top-ranked Yani Tseng of Taiwan will try to join an elite group by winning an LPGA tournament for the third consecutive year when the Honda LPGA Thailand tees off Thursday.

Only nine golfers have achieved the feat -- with Annika Sorenstam successful on three occasions: the Michelob Light Classic, 1997-99; the Mizuno Classic, 2001-05; and the LPGA Championship, 2003-05 -- and Tseng is coming off the back of a second-place finish at the Women's Australian Open in Canberra last week.

"Hopefully I can be the 10th," she said. "I will try my best because I love this course. It's pretty good for a long hitter on this golf course. You can go for the par-5s on some of the shallow greens and you can stop the ball on the green."

The other eight players are Laura Davies (Standard Register PING, 1994-97), Patty Berg (World Championship, 1953-55), Betsy Rawls (Tampa Open, 1956-58), Louise Suggs (Dallas Civitan Open, 1959-61), Kathy Whitworth (Orange Blossom Classic, 1968-70), Sandra Haynie (Charity Golf Classic, 1973-75), Karrie Webb (Australian Ladies Masters, 1998-2000), and Lorena Ochoa (Sybase Classic, 2006-08).

Tseng beat 2010 winner Ai Miyazato of Japan by one shot on the Pattaya Old Course at Siam Country Club last year. She will play with Miyazato and Suzann Pettersen in the last group Thursday and hopes to improve on her putting from last week.

"I always play pretty consistently for four days and I just need the putts to drop more," Tseng said. "I feel good on my swing because I've been working so hard on it with my coach, so I'm very happy to see my swing be more consistent."

The tournament has attracted a solid field of top-60 players plus 10 invitees. They include teenaged New Zealand sensation Lydia Ko, the youngest LPGA winner at 15 years, four months in the 2012 Canadian Open, and Tiger Woods' niece, Cheyenne Woods.

Third-ranked Stacy Lewis is the only top-10 player from the United States in the field, and the 2012 LPGA Player of the Year said more Americans should be competing as it's a U.S.-based tour.

"I come to events like this and I realize that I am the top-ranked American, and it's a good spot to be in," said Lewis, who will be making her fourth appearance in Chonburi. "But I would definitely like more American players playing well with me. It's a Solheim Cup year and I think everybody is going to start getting on their games to kind of carry that flag.

"Right now it's me, but hopefully at the end of this year there are a couple more people up here."