Tseng aims for win No. 5 as LPGA heads to Singapore

Yani Tseng during the 2011 LPGA Thailand.

SINGAPORE – Yani Tseng of Taiwan, the No. 1 player in the world, tees off at this week’s HSBC Women’s Champions with a chance to capture her fifth tournament title (and fourth consecutive).

The 22-year-old Tseng has made a blazing start to 2011, claiming the top ranking while winning in the last three weeks at the Australian Women’s Open and Australia Ladies Masters of the Ladies European Tour and last week’s LPGA Thailand. She also won the Taifong Ladies Open in her native Taiwan in January.

Tseng faces her stiffest competition so far when the Women’s Champions starts Thursday, with the field of 63 golfers featuring all of the 2010 major champions and last year’s U.S. LPGA tournament winners at the par-72 Tanah Merah Country Club.

“I’m looking forward to winning this one,” Tseng said. “I feel lots of confidence.”

Tseng studied English in the offseason and credits a more relaxed approach to golf for her success so far this season.

“I just worked a little bit on my swing with my coach and got my body stronger, and that’s it,” Tseng. “I just try to relax and I know the more relaxed I am, the better I play.”

World No. 2 Jiyai Shin of South Korea – who won at Singapore in 2009 – and Japan’s Ai Miyazato – who won here in 2010 – have also held the top spot since Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa retired last year.

“It shows how strong the competition is getting,” American Paula Creamer said. “It’s always been one person dominating our sport, and that isn’t the case anymore.”

Women’s golf has struggled in recent years as sponsorship money fell amid a global economic recession and its fragile recovery. But players said the tour is on the right path.

“Obviously it’s tough right now with the economy,” Hawaiian Michelle Wie said. “But we as a tour have gotten so much better. I feel like people are a lot more confident in the direction that we’re going.”

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