Despite pain, Tseng to defend at Australian Open

Yani Tseng won her third major title at the 2010 Women's British Open.

Yani Tseng won her third major title at the 2010 Women's British Open.

Yani Tseng is raring to defend her Women’s Australian Open title, despite some elbow tendinitis.

The 3-time major winner is in Melbourne this week for the start of the Ladies European Tour season. However, Tseng will be wearing tape on her right elbow when she tees it up Thursday at the Commonwealth Club.

“I take painkillers because it really hurts. The doctors always want to give me a shot (but) I don’t want that,” the 22-year-old LPGA player told the Herald Sun.

“I put it in ice every day. Ice is my best friend right now – it helps a lot.”

The problem has plagued her since 2006, she said.

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LET

Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa

“Every time I hit a shot my elbow bone hurts, and the (tape) support ensures I don’t extend it too much,” Tseng said.

Tseng became the youngest player in LPGA history to win three career major championships when she won two of last year’s four majors - the Kraft Nabisco Championship and Ricoh Women’s British Open.

Last year at Commonwealth, she beat Laura Davies by three strokes. And should she win again, Tseng said she wants to buy a yellow Lamborghini.

If Tseng wants to take the top prize, she has to get through a solid field, including world No. 1 Jiyai Shin.

Shin nearly took the Australian Open title in 2008 at Kingston Health, but lost in a playoff to Karrie Webb. But Shin took that experience for her betterment.

“After the tournament, I think I made a lot of fans in Australia,” Shin said. “The big difference (in my game now) is my confidence, and I also enjoy the tour more and my game.”

With all the LPGA stars in Melbourne, it may be easy to overlook LET players. But Lee-Anne Pace comes in this week as a player to watch, considering the South African is coming off a five-win season and LET Player of the Year honors.

Davies, who finished just behind Pace in 2010 earnings, is also here with Melissa Reid, rookie Caroline Hedwall and 15-year-old Alexis Thompson and Katherine Hull.

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