Home games are comforting because the surroundings are familiar and confidence rises when an opponent invades the home turf.
Borrowing an adage from team sports is appropriate this week as Yani Tseng goes home to Taiwan to defend the title she won at the inaugural Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship last fall. Tseng won by five strokes at Sunrise Golf & Country Club, marking her seventh victory in a dominant season where was the Rolex Player of the Year, led the LPGA in earnings and stroke average and topped five other statistical categories.
This week, the 23-year-old Tseng is trying to rediscover the level of play that made her one of the most accomplished young golfers in history. To begin the 2012 season, she won three times in the first five events. However, she has slumped since spring and just recently started trending toward her usual game. Two weeks ago at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, she finished T49 but gained some on-site instruction from coach Gary Gilchrist. Last week, in a third-place finish at the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship, Tseng’s mother and sister were in attendance.
Tseng is comfortable with the Sunrise course since she grew up 30 minutes away and played there often as an amateur. She will also be staying in the Yani Tseng Suite at the resort which includes photos of her career and her first professional trophy, the 2008 McDonald’s LPGA Championship.With a win this week, the $300,000 first-place prize would push Tseng into the top 10 in LPGA career earnings and as high as eighth. Tseng, currently 12th, has won $8,755,417 in just 116 starts.
Here’s a comparison of some of statistics from 2011 to the current standing in 2012:
|Scoring Avg.||69.66 (1)||71.25 (16)|
|Rolex Player of Yr.||336 pts. (1)||129 (3)|
|Earnings||$2,921,713 (1)||$1,214,334 (5)|
|Avg. driving dist.||269.2 (1)||267 (7)|
|Driving Accuracy||69% (85)||58% (137)|
|GIR||74% (T2)||69% (34)|
|Putting Avg.||29.64 (67)||29.54 (19th)|
|Birdies||358 (1)||264 (7)|