TSENG’S KEYS TO WINNING IN THAILAND
Fifteen-time LPGA Tour winner Yani Tseng returns to Thailand this week still as the only player to have won this event twice and hopes to channel some good memories for a solid week in Choburi. Tseng has had a slow start to 2016 with a missed cut in the Bahamas and T60 at the Coates Golf Championship. But if there’s anywhere that could spark something, she says it would be here.
What was the key to her two victories at Siam Country Club? What most fans think of when they picture Tseng’s game.
“Just grip it and rip it,” said Tseng. “This course is good for the ball strikers but you need a good strategy for the second shots. The greens are really tough.”
Tseng says the closing stretch on the Pattaya Course provides an exciting and challenging finish.
“The last four holes are really tough,” said Tseng. “It’s great. The shortest par 4 on the 15th hole, tough and longest par 3 on 16, a tough par 4 on 17 and reachable par 5 on the last hole. The last four holes, a lot can change.”
It was in this stretch that gave Tseng one of her best memories from either of her wins here. In 2012, she shot a first-round 73 but followed it up with rounds of 65-65-66 and edged the 2010 winner Ai Miyazato by one shot with a birdie-birdie finish.
“One year I was playing with Ai (Miyazato) and she made a birdie on No. 17 and I did it too,” said Tseng. “It was about a six-foot putt with two-cup break and under that pressure I was so happy to hole that putt. And the last hole I was thinking ‘you have to make birdie.’ I was about 100 yards in and I hit my full shot 52 (degree) and almost holed it.”
Tseng acknowledges the setup favors the long hitters and that a balance of patience but also some birdie chasing needs to happen to have any chance at a title here.
“This course is good for long hitters but you need to play good on the greens and place the shot on these greens…You need to be patient on this golf course,” said Tseng. “So just need to stay patient and try to make a lot of birdies Every year its 15-under par or so to win the tournament, you don’t play safe. If you have a chance, you gotta go. Go big or go home.”
FOR THE KIDS!
Ariya Jutanugarn, Beatriz Recari and Yani Tseng donated their time on Tuesday to help with the opening of one of five local playgrounds to serve local youth in the Chonburi area. Players have been asked over the years to donate items to the tournament’s charity auction and those accumulated funds have been used to build and maintain the playgrounds.
“I loved it. I could spend time with the kids all day. It really just makes you so happy when you get to see them smile and enjoying it and playing. We have to thank the sponsors for getting behind this and pushing this to happen. If it was just me, it wouldn’t happen. It’s great that all of our players could give a little something and make a huge difference.” -Ariya Jutanugarn
“It feels amazing. You see the auctions every year and you don’t think as much about it. But with each and every little effort, the value keeps adding and Honda can put this amazing playground up to serve the community. It’s something all of us really love doing and giving back to the communities that welcome us every year. It’s special to see all the efforts over the years standing right behind us.” -Beatriz Recari
KEY NUMBERS TO KNOW
13 – Number of Thai players on Tour in 2016. There were none in 2005, the year prior to the start of this event
9- Nine of the top-10 players in the Rolex Rankings will be in action this week. No. 1 Lydia Ko will be taking the week off before returning next week in Singapore
10 – This week marks the 10th anniversary for the event and has been played every year since 2006 except 2008
2 – Yani Tseng is the only two-time winner of this event and picked up back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012
7 – Past champions in the field this week: Suzann Pettersen, Ai Miyazato, Yani Tseng, Anna Nordqvist, Inbee Park and Amy Yang
1 – Suzann Pettersen is the only player to have played in all nine previous stagings of the event
21 – Tournament scoring record (21-under par) shared by Suzann Pettersen (2007) and Ai Miyazato (2010)