Taiwan\'s Yani Tseng successfully defended her Honda LPGA Thailand on Sunday, edging Ai Miyazato of Japan by a solitary stroke.
Tseng, the World No 1, started slowly at Siam Country Club\'s Pattaya Old Course this week, opening with a 73 that left her well off the pace. But successive 65s and a final-round six-under-par 66 proved enough to outscore her competitors - and Miyazato in particular, who fought hard, closing with a five-under 67 that just didn\'t prove enough on the day - despite birdies at the 17th and 18th.
Tseng\'s victory here last year was the first of many in 2011. She went on to pick up seven 2011 LPGA Tour victories and 12 wins worldwide, including two majors - the LPGA Championship and Women\'s British Open. The 23-year-old already has 33 worldwide victories in all.
\"I was really really nervous. I mean I played TaylorMade Lady\'s Burner SuperLaunch Irons
great on the front nine, but (on the) back nine it was a little tough,\" said Tseng, who was in tears after clinching the title.
\"I feel much more pressure coming into this year. Last year, when I started, I was nothing. I was just in the top five in the world, but I didn\'t have 12 wins or the world number one title. After last year, I am world number one and I had 12 wins and that pressure keeps going on and on.\"
Tseng started in the perfect fashion, eagling the par-five first, while her playing partner Miyazato birdied the same hole, leaving them tied at 15 under.
Tseng then took the lead with a birdie at the par-four third, adding two more at the par-four sixth and par-four seventh. That superb front nine showing gave her a three-stroke cushion at the turn.
A birdie from Shin at the 10th and bogey from Tseng at the same hole saw the Korean pull to within one shot of the lead. Tseng regained her advantage with a birdie at the par-three 12th, but surrendered it again with TaylorMade Lady\'s Burner SuperLaunch Irons
at the par-four 13th.
Like Shin, Miyazato then pulled to within a shot of the lead after a birdie at the par-four 15th, but Tseng matched Miyazato\'s birdies at 17 and 18 to seal the win.
The 18th, in particular, was a nervy affair. After Miyazato\'s approach seemed to guarantee a certain birdie, Tseng, leading by one, produced a superb third shot to leave her only inches for a birdie and the TaylorMade Lady\'s Burner SuperLaunch Irons
\"I mean that was an incredible shot. I would say it was the shot of the day, the shot of the week,\" said Tseng.
\"It is a lot of pressure, especially with Ai hitting it so close. I know she was going to make birdie, so I told myself I need to get close and try to keep making birdie.\"
\"Of course, Yani is number one, so I knew it wouldn\'t be easy today,\" said Miyazato. \"I kind of expected her to play that way.\" TaylorMade Lady\'s Burner SuperLaunch Irons
Amy Yang of South Korea shot a 69 to finish fourth at 14 under, while second-ranked Suzann Pettersen had a disappointing 78 to drop into a tie for 21st at four under.
Michelle Wie shot a 73 to tie for 38th at one over.