TAIPEI — Former world No. 1 female golfer Yani Tseng said yesterday she was happy to be back in Taiwan for the 2013 Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship and felt that she would have an advantage on her home turf.
“I’m very happy to be home, to be back to a familiar place,” the 24-year-old Taiwanese player said at a press conference in Taoyuan also attended by Norwegian Suzann Pettersen and Americans Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson.
Tseng, whose ranking has fallen to 25th in the world, said that she had a good practice round on Tuesday despite heavy winds, and she looked forward to her home tournament.
“The LPGA events in Asia over the past three weeks have been good preparation for this tournament” said Tseng, who finished third at the Taiwan stop on the LPGA Tour last year.
Tseng comes into the event looking to recapture some of the form and consistency that kept her ranked in the top 10 in the world from mid-2008 to July 2013.
She showed signs of playing better on the first leg of the LPGA Tour’s fall swing to Asia, the Reignwood LPGA Classic, in which she finished sixth, but then struggled at the next stop in Malaysia and finished tied for 27th at the HanaBank Championship in Korea last week.
“There have been ups and downs, but I know anything can happen. This is how playing a sport works,” Tseng said of her difficulties over the past year.
“Returning to Taiwan, I’ve forgotten the happiness and disappointments of the past,” she said. “I’m not setting a goal for the week; I just hope not to disappoint the fans and have fun playing the course.” This year’s event in Taiwan, which carries a purse of US$2 million, will tee off on Oct. 24 at the Sunrise Golf and Country Club in Taoyuan.
Four of the top 10 players on the LPGA Tour’s money list will be taking part in the four-day tournament. They are Pettersen, Thompson, Spaniard Beatriz Recari and South Korean Na Yeon Choi.
Two other players among the top 10 money winners this year, South Koreans Inbee Park and So-yeon Ryu, pulled out of the event in recent days.
The Sunrise Golf & Country Club is hosting the LPGA tournament for the third year in a row but is in the final year of a three-year contract with the U.S.-based LPGA.
Hsu Tien-ya, president of the Golf Association of the Republic of China and chairman of the club, has said he hopes a new sponsor can take over the tournament in the future.