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Tseng Back in the Win Column
Taiwan's Yani Tseng has a knack for finding her way to the winner's circle, and the 23-year-old superstar, who had 12 victories worldwide in 2011, is at it again.
The LPGA Tour's two-time Player of the Year closed with birdies on the last two holes on the Pattaya Old Course at Siam Country Club to finish a stroke ahead of third-round leader Ai Miyazato and win the LPGA Thailand tournament.
Tseng, who began Sunday a stroke behind the 26-year-old Japanese player, fired a 6-under 66 to end up at 19-under 269 and edge past Miyazato, who birdied three of the last four holes for a 68.
After starting the tournament with a disappointing 1-over 73, Tseng reeled off rounds of 65, 65 and 66 to successfully defend her Thailand title and earn $225,000 for her first victory of the year.
After playing partner Miyazato hit her approach close on the par-5 18th, it was up to Tseng to answer. And she did, setting up a tap-in birdie putt to secure the win. "It was an incredible shot. I think it's the shot of the week," Tseng said. "Especially, I saw that Ai hit it so close and I knew she was going to make that putt. So, I tell myself, 'I need to get this close.' "
Tseng is aware that with her overpowering season last year she's carrying a target on her back. "I feel much more pressure coming into this year," she said. "Last year, when I started, I was nothing.
"I was just in the top-5 in the world, but I don't have 12 wins or world No. 1 title. After last year, I have world No. 1 and I had 12 wins and that pressure keeps going on and on."
Miyazato wasn't surprised by the clutch performance of her good friend Tseng. "Of course, Yani is No. 1, so I knew it wouldn't be easy today," Miyazato said. "I kind of expected her to play that way."
South Korea's Jiyai Shin closed with a 67 to take solo third at 271, while three shots further down the leaderboard was Amy Yang (69) of South Korea.
Jimin Kang, a South Korea native who attended high school in Seattle, shot a 67 and ended up tied fifth at 10-under 278 with China's Shanshan Feng (68) and Americans Amanda Blumenherst (69) and Stacy Lewis (70).
Australia's Karrie Webb started the last round only two strokes out of the lead but ballooned with a 3-over 75 to end up in ninth at 279 with Jenny Shin (71) of South Korea. Suzann Pettersen of Norway also had a tough day, closing with a 6-over 78 to end up sharing 21st place.
American teenager Lexi Thompson matched Tseng's 66 for Sunday's low round en route to a T-14 finish at 6-under 282. Michelle Wie shot her second straight 73 to end up at 1-over 289, and Morgan Pressel carded an ace on the 136-yard eighth with an 8-iron for a 71 and a T-49 placing.
For all the scores, visit http://www.lpgascoring.com/public/leaderboard.aspx?TournamentID=27854.