World Number Two makes practice round promise

World Number Two makes practice round promise to HSBC Women's Champions local qualifier
By Tim Maitland

The second-highest ranked female golfer in the world, Yani Tseng of Taiwan, has added an extra incentive for the Singapore golfers playing in this week's local qualifier for the HSBC Women's Champions. Tseng, winner of the 2008 McDonald's LPGA Championship, which is one of the women's Majors, and the LPGA Rookie of the Year, has guaranteed to be practice partner in the tournament proper for whoever wins the two-round event at Tanah Merah Country Club this week (5th & 6th Feb).

"I'm waiting for them. It's exciting. I'm looking forward to it. It's a promise, whoever qualifies I will practice with them: 100 per cent," declared Tseng, who is in Australia this week, where she starts her season at the ANZ Masters on Queensland's Gold Coast but has half an eye on the Lion City where fourteen local golfers will be vying for one spot in the HSBC Champions in the first week of March.

"I don't know which one I'm cheering for because I have many, many friends in Singapore. I know everybody: Ji Jiali, Christabel, Stephanie, Amelia, Su-Ann… I think I know all of them; all from amateur golf. We played so many tournaments in Asia together. They're very nice. Last year at the Lexus Cup they all came to cheer for me, they'd even made Yani signs. I was so happy to see them again because I hadn't seen them for a long time; not since I turned pro," she added.

Tseng, who also talks fondly of a shirt some of the Singapore girls had made her with "Yani 388" on the back to signify the LPGA-leading number of birdies she made last year, says she has noticed how the HSBC Women's Champions local qualifier has energized her friends.

"Me and Jiali are good friends and I know a couple of the others are going to turn pro. I think this is a very good chance for them," she explained.

"It's a good experience. It let's them know how good they really are and it let's them know how they need to work on their game."

Yani and Jiali are so close they spent some of the off-season working together in Los Angeles, but the 20-year-old Taiwanese star says she has no favourite this week.

"I'm cheering for everybody. I don't care which one makes it, for sure I will practice with them in the practice rounds," Tseng declared.

Then, when asked if she had a message for the girls, Yani, pulled out a phrase she has been practicing ever since she arrived in Queensland for this week's tournament at the Royal Pines near Brisbane.

"I would say "good on ya"!" she added in an Australian accent as authentic as prawns on the barbie, before laughing hysterically.

"Good luck!"

Yani Tseng Interview

Q: How many of the girls do you know playing in the HSBC Women's Champion local qualifier this week?

A: I know everybody. Ji Jiali, Christabel, Stephanie, Amelia, Su-Ann… I think I know all of them; all from amateur golf. We played so many tournaments in Asia together. They're very nice. Last year at the Lexus Cup they all came to cheer for me, they'd even made Yani signs. I was so happy to see them again because I hadn't seen them for a long time; not since I turned pro. In my first year some of them didn't even know I turned pro (laughs).

Q: Does it seem strange to be world number two and have your friends come and watch you?

A: I don't feel strange, but I think sometimes my friends feel strange. They say "we used to play together at the same time and know you're here and I'm here!" I didn't change anything though, I'm still the same.

Q: Did they tell you about the qualifier this week?

Yes, they told me. I don't know which one I'm cheering for because I have many, many friends in Singapore. Jiali was training me in the States, in LA.

Q: Have you noticed that they have changed now that they have the chance of playing in the HSBC Women's Champions?

A: Me and Jiali are good friends and I know a couple of the others are going to turn pro. I think this is a very good chance for them; it's a good experience. It let's them know how good they really are and it let's them know how they need to work on their game.

Q: I've noticed a change in them from last year, because of the qualifier.

A: Yes, they have a better idea of what they're doing and they know what their goals are.

Q: What would you want to say to them all if you could be with them before the tournament starts?

A: I would say "good on ya" (laughs). Good luck. I'm cheering for everybody. I don't care which one makes it, for sure I will practice with them in the practice rounds. I'm waiting for them. It's exciting. I'm looking forward to it. It's a promise, whoever qualifies I will practice with them. 100 per cent.

Topics: Player Feature, Tseng, Yani, HSBC Women's Champions

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