PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Yani Tseng wasn’t satisfied with merely winning the LPGA Championship and, at 22, becoming the youngest to win four LPGA majors.
Once she made the turn with a 10-stroke lead Sunday, the best female player in the world set her sights on making a little more history.
“I was like, what’s a new goal for me?” Tseng said. “And that’s why I told myself I wanted to set a record, to make 20 under.”
She missed by one stroke in what was the only minor blemish in one of the most dominating performances to date from Tseng.
In closing with a 6-under 66 to finish at 19-under 269 at Locust Hill Country Club, Tseng matched the LPGA record low at a major, most recently by Cristie Kerr a year ago when she shot the same score to win the tournament by 12 strokes. Dottie Pepper (1999 Kraft Nabisco) and Karen Stupples (2004 Women’s British Open) also finished at 19 under.
There is one mark Tseng can claim as her own by bettering Se Ri Pak, who was 24 when she won her fourth major. By comparison, Tiger Woods didn’t win his fourth until he was 24. And Tseng’s well ahead of her idol, Annika Sorenstam, who was 24 when she won the first of her 10 majors — the 1995 U.S. Women’s Open
“It’s very special,” Tseng said. “Now I’m thinking about a grand slam.”
It’s one step at a time for the top-ranked Tseng, who won her second LPGA Championship and has won three of the tour’s last six majors. The only major she’s missing is the U.S. Women’s Open title, which she’ll have an opportunity to complete her career slam in two weeks at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Morgan Pressel (71) finished second. Kerr (69), Suzann Pettersen (67) and Paula Creamer (69) tied for third at 8 under.
Charlottetown’s Lorie Kane shot a 74 to finish well back at 4 over.
“Pretty unbelievable,” said Kerr, who rallied late with a birdie on No. 16 and an eagle on 17. “Yani’s doing what I did last year. Obviously, it’s hard to beat. I’m not surprised. Yani’s a great player.”
Pressel initially thought she’d have an outside chance to catch Tseng before the final round began. Pressel dropped that hope once she dropped a shot with a bogey on No. 2.
“It’s definitely a dominating performance,” Pressel said. “She didn’t make many mistakes out there.”
Tseng didn’t, in claiming US$375,000 at the $2.5 million event. Wearing a smile for much of the day, Tseng raised her arms and tipped her hat as she was greeted by the gallery upon arriving at the 18th green.
After a bogey on No. 1, which she chalked up to nerves, Tseng reeled off five birdies on her next seven holes to run away from the field. Tseng added three more birdies on the back nine, while bogeying 13, and had a chance to get to 20, before missing a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 18.
Tseng went wire-to-wire as the tournament leader after opening with rounds of 66, 70 and 67. In holding one-shot leads after each of the first two rounds, Tseng began running away from the field on Saturday in building a five-shot edge.
Tseng finished with 27 birdies, six bogeys and a double bogey. She hit 38-of-56 fairways and 57-of-72 greens in regulation.
No one else was close. Tseng’s playing partner, Cindy LaCrosse, unravelled. She was 5 over on Sunday to tumble into 14th.
Pettersen had the best round among those at the top of the leaderboard, getting to 9 under for the tournament before a bogey on No. 18.
“I think I started too late in this tournament,” Pettersen said, while also acknowledging Tseng’s performance. “You take her out of consideration and I think the rest of us were fighting for second and third.”