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Golf: Five-time major winners Tseng, Park set pace in Singapore

Yani Tseng continued her recent return to form with an opening 66 at the HSBC Women’s Champions. Photos: HSBC Getty Images.

Yani Tseng continued her return to form with a 66 at the HSBC Women’s Champions. Photos: HSBC Getty Images.

March 5, 2015: Yani Tseng underlined her recent return to form by carding an opening six-under-par 66 to share the lead at the eighth HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore with World No. 2 Park In-bee – a fellow former No. 1, five-time major winner and 26-year-old.

 

(Visit sport-asia.com/streaming/ for live off-course coverage of the HSBC Women’s Champions each day from 9.00am-11.00am.)

 

Angela Stanford was a shot behind the co-leaders after the 2012 champion shot 67 at Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong course, while World No. 1 Lydia Ko posted a 68 to share fourth place with Karrie Webb, Jenny Shin, Mo Martin and Mariajo Uribe.

 

Tseng, 26, carded three birdies and a bogey on the front nine before firing four more birdies on the back nine, including at the par-five 18th.

 

The popular Taiwanese won 15 LPGA titles including five majors from 2008 through 2012, but has been winless since and slipped down to World No. 90 before sharing second place at last week’s Honda LPGA Thailand.

 

“Oh, it’s fun. It’s so much fun. I was very happy with the way I have changed – back to a smile again. I really played golf out there,” said Tseng, who was No. 1 for 109 weeks between 2011 and 2013.

 

“Like I tell my friends and my parents, they don’t have to scroll down to see my name on the website – they can just see right on top of the first page!”

 

Park In-bee fired six birdies in her last 10 holes at Sentosa Golf Club to post a six-under-par 66.

Park In-bee fired six birdies in her last 10 holes at Sentosa Golf Club to post a six-under-par 66.

Park is a more recent No. 1, only losing top spot to Ko in early February. The Korean took time to get into her stride, the ‘Silent Assassin’ sinking all six of her birdies in the last 10 holes.

 

“Today was a really good day. I had a bogey‑free round, which I’m really proud of, especially on this course. I feel very good, a lot more comfortable over the putter,” said Park, who won her 12th LPGA title at last year’s LPGA Championship.

 

“I started on the front nine, which was the tougher nine. I didn’t play too aggressively, made a couple birdies on the par-fives, but I wasn’t able to do what I wanted. I was able to make a birdie on No. 9 and that kind of got me started. The back nine was great. If I can play the back nine like that, it’s going to be a good week.”

 

Lexi Thompson, the World No. 11, also had reason to celebrate after the 20-year-old American knocked in a hole-in-one at the par-three 14th on her way to a 69.

 

“I hit a low controlled seven‑iron from 150 yards. It was looking good the whole way, so I was just waiting for it to drop. I let go of my club. I don’t even know what I did honestly,” said the big-hitting 6-footer, who admitted she’s in an aggressive mood this week.

 

“I definitely want to bomb it a lot on this golf course. Probably on a few holes I shouldn’t, but driver is the most comfortable club I have in my bag right now. Just pick the line and commit to it – that’s all I’m doing right now.”

 

For leaderboard, visit: www.lpga.com/tournaments/hsbc-womens-champions/leaderboard

 

Source: HSBC Women’s Champions (www.hsbcgolf.com/womens); Editing by SportAsia

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