Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng’s dominance of the LPGA Tour continued on Sunday with a six-shot victory over Sun Young Yoo at the 2012 Kia Classic. At the age of 23 years, 2 months and 2 days, Tseng becomes the second-youngest player in LPGA history to 15 victories behind Nancy Lopez.
The victory is Tseng’s second-consecutive following last week’s triumph at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup and the third in five attempts this season. She has led or co-led after each of the last eight rounds dating back to the first round in Phoenix last week and has won seven of the last eight times she entered the final round with a lead. She now turns her attention to next week’s Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the golf season, where she will seek her second Kraft title and sixth major win.
Now the proud owner of a Kia Optima Limited following the win, Tseng carded just four bogies en route to a 14-under-par 274 after 72 holes this week at the La Costa Resort and Spa’s South Course. Amazingly, the victory could have been even more convincing if not for five short birdie putt misses during Saturday’s third round. Regardless, the amicable Tseng has now carded 11 of her last 15 rounds in the 60’s.
None of Tseng’s competitors seemed up to the challenge this week with the Taiwanese star extending her lead after each round. Former Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jiyai Shin had the best opportunity to test Tseng, trailing by just two strokes entering the following round. Shin, who has now recorded three top-10’s in 2012, finished the week in a tie for third with Shanshan Feng.
Sun Young Yoo finished solo second at 8-under-par 280, her first top-10 of the season.
Feng continued her solid play with a final-round 67 and a tie for third with Shin. The 22-year-old, who several weeks ago became the first winner from Mainland China on the Ladies European Tour, has now finished in the top-5 in each of her three starts this year on the LPGA.
The win nets Tseng a 23rd point toward qualification for the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame. Twenty-seven points and 10 years of service on the LPGA Tour are needed for induction. Two points are on the line at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
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