LPGA accolade caps year of milestones for Yani Tseng


TAIPEI–The LPGA has declared 2011 as “Yani’s Year” to honor world No. 1 female golfer Yani Tseng who recorded a number of memorable milestones during the season.

In an article titled “2011 Was ‘Yani’s Year on LPGA Tour,” the LPGA picked Tseng’s dominating performance on the women’s circuit as the No. 1 story of the year.

Tseng’s year was spectacular by any standard. It included seven wins on the LPGA Tour, 12 wins worldwide, nearly US$3 million in prize money in LPGA Tour events, 14 top-10 finishes, 54 rounds under par (in 77 rounds) with 41 rounds in the 60s, the LPGA article said.

The 22-year-old’s dominance at the LPGA’s major championships also made the tour’s No. 5 story of the year.

Tseng won two of the year’s four majors — the Wegmans LPGA Championship in June and the RICOH Women’s British Open in July.

She also finished runner-up in April at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and tied for 15th at the U.S. Women’s Open Championship in early July.

In defending her title at the Women’s British Open, Tseng became the youngest golfer in history to win five career major championships. Tiger Woods previously held that distinction, having won his fifth major at 24 years and 7 months.

The fourth-year LPGA Tour member’s win at home in the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship in Taoyuan was picked as the LPGA’s No. 10 story of the year. She won the event by five strokes over Spain’s Azahara Munoz and Amy Yang of South Korea.

Recounting her memorable milestones of 2011, the LPGA said in the final installment of its 11 top stories of the year that Tseng has “emerged in 2011 as the most powerful woman player in the world and as the hands-down player to beat in 2012.”

Tseng was also named as Rolex Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and was the LPGA’s 2011 Vare Trophy Award winner for having the tour’s lowest scoring average (69.66).

On Thursday, she added another award to her overcrowded trophy cabinet as she was overwhelmingly chosen as the 2011 female player of the year by the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA).

Luke Donald of the England was named the GWAA male player of the year after winning four times around the world and becoming the first player to win the money title on the PGA Tour and the European Tour in the same season. Meanwhile, veteran American golfer Tom Lehman known for his dedicated contributions to golf was voted senior player of the year.

The trio will be honored at the GWAA annual awards dinner on April 4 in Augusta, Georgia on the eve of the 2012 U.S. Masters golf tournament.

Earlier this week, Yahoo sports writer Shane Bacon cited “Yani Tseng going from good player to great player” as the sixth of the nine biggest surprises of the 2011 golf season.

Tseng has also been nominated for the 2011 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the sports world.

She was the first Taiwanese athlete ever to be nominated for the coveted honor. The winners will be unveiled at a televised Awards Ceremony staged in London on Feb. 6, 2012.