Tseng’s fourth try at a three-peat
Yani Tseng will be going for a third consecutive victory in the Honda LPGA Thailand this week. Tseng, the No. 1 player in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings for the 106th consecutive week, has never finished worse that a tie for seventh in the tournament, including a five-stroke victory in 2011 and a one-stroke win last year. She is a combined 54-under par in 16 rounds at Siam Country Club’s two courses and placed second at last week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
The LPGA record for most consecutive wins in one event is five, established by Annika Sorenstam in the 2001-5 Mizuno Classic.
Tseng has been in position to “three-peat” on three other occasions, all last season. Here are the tournaments and how she fared on the third try:
|ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open||T8|
|Ricoh Women's British Open||T26|
|NW Arkansas Championship||Cut|
Shin’s victory streak
With her victory last week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, Jiyai Shin has won three of her last seven starts on the LPGA. She won the Kingsmill Championship (in a nine-hole playoff) and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (in a 36-hole final day) in consecutive weeks last September before ending the season with four events outside of the top 10.
Shin has 11 career LPGA wins, all of which came with multiple wins in 2008 and 2009 (three wins each year) and 2010 and 2012 (two apiece).
Shin missed two months of the 2012 season because of left hand surgery in late May. She returned to the LPGA at the Evian Masters in late July.
Ko’s consistent play
Lydia Ko has made five career starts on the LPGA, with a win (2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open) and a finish no worse than a T39 (low amateur at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open).
The New Zealand amateur placed third last week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open after sharing the third-round lead with eventual winner Jiyai Shin. Ko opened with a 10-under-par 63 that included playing her first 12 holes without a par (started with bogey, four birdies, eagle, bogey, five birdies).
Ko, who turns 16 on April 24, is also in the field this week at the Honda LPGA Taiwan and is playing again the following week in the New Zealand LPGA Championship, a men’s event where she will be an amateur participant in the pro-am style format that teams amateurs with pros as part of a better-ball competition over the final two days of the tournament. Last year, Ko teamed with South Korea’s Jin Jeong to finish tied for third.
After the New Zealand event, Ko will return to school in her home country. She has moved up to 26th in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.
Home players prevalent this week
Thailand will be well represented at its home LPGA event this week, with five players in the field for the tournament.
The Jutanugarn sisters are both competing. Moriya Jutanugarn, 18, was the co-medalist at the 2012 LPGA Qualifying Tournament and tied for fourth at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open last week. Her younger sister, Ariya, 17, was the 2012
Ladies European Tour Qualifying Tournament medalist and finished in a tie for second, behind Karrie Webb, in the Australian Ladies Masters three weeks ago.
Pornanong Phatlum, who won the unofficial Brazil Cup last year on the LPGA, is in the field, as are Numa Gulyanamitta, a former Purdue University star, and amateur Supamas Saengchan. Stacy Prammanasudh, an American, is in the field also. Her father, Pravat, is a native of Thailand.
No American winners in Thailand
This week’s Honda LPGA Thailand is one of nine events on the 2013 LPGA schedule that has never had an official American winner. Since the tournament debut in 2006, the winners have come from South Korea (Hee-Won Han in 2006), Norway (Suzanne Pettersen in 2007), Mexico (Lorena Ochoa in 2008), Japan (Ai Miyazato in 2010) and Taiwan (Yani Tseng in 2011 and 2012).
Other tournaments that haven’t had an American winner include: LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship (11 years), Walmart NW Arkansas Championship (5 years), Kia Classic (3 years), Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia (3 years), RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup (2 years), Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship (2 years), CME Group Titleholders (2 years) and the LPGA LOTTE Championship (1 year).
Back to Siam Country Club’s Old Course
Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course will be the site of this week’s tournament for the third consecutive year. The newer Plantation Course at the 45-hole complex was the site in 2009. The Old Course opened in 1971 as Thailand’s first privately owned golf club, located in Chonburi, 120 miles east of Bangkok on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Chonburi is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
The Plantation Course was designed by the American architecture team of Schmidt-Curley Design, based in Arizona. Prior to building the Plantation Course, Schmidt-Curley built new greens and bunkers, installed new turf, expanded water hazards and removed trees on the Old Course. The Old Course will play to par 72 and measures 6,469 yards.
This week’s field includes 70 players (60 from the LPGA money list and 10 tournament invitees) and has no cut. Among the players making their 2013 debuts are South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi, the second-ranked player in the world; China’s Shanshan Feng; Norway’s Suzann Pettersen and Americans Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr. … While Gerina Piller will be making her second consecutive international start this week in Thailand (T18 at last week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open), husband Martin Piller begins his season in Panama on the Web.com Tour. … So much for Greens in Regulation being a very important statistic, at least through the first week. Katie Futcher and Karin Sjodin led the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open field in the category at 86.1 percent. They each hit 31 of 36 greens but both missed the cut.