Tseng's record-tying round vaults her into third place at LPGA Corning Classic
It would seem LPGA golfer Yani Tseng has a flair for the dramatic.
Tseng, in her sophomore season on tour, has only one win on her resume. That win, however, came in her rookie year. It also came during the McDonald’s LPGA Championship, one of the four majors on the calendar.
If that wasn’t dramatic enough, Tseng earned her first win in a four-hole shootout with Maria Hjorth.
The drama surrounding Tseng continued in Saturday’s third round of the LPGA Corning Classic. Tseng fired a 10-under par 62 to move her from a tie for 26th to sole possession of third place heading into Sunday's final round.
“I don’t feel like I shot a 10-under,” Tseng said. “I was just going to go out and have fun and I made a bunch of putts. The last two weeks I’ve been very frustrated and now I’m very happy.”
Tseng should be happy with her round Saturday. Not only did it rocket her to near the top of the leaderboard, but it also broke one tournament record and tied another.
Her 8-under par performance on the front nine Saturday broke the record of 7-under set by Wendy Ward in 2003.
Tseng’s 10-under par tied the course record for lowest round. She ties Mika Miyazato, who also shot a 10-under Saturday, Juli Inkster, who originally set the record in 2003 and Hee-Won Han, who had her record-tying round in 2005.
“It’s unbelievable,” Tseng said. “I had two eagles on the front nine and a lot of circles on my scorecard. And it feels like I’m playing a four-man scramble. It’s birdie and eagles. It was so much fun on the front nine.”
Tseng was so dialed in in the first half of Saturday’s round, she only had three pars and no bogeys for the first nine holes. Eagles on the par-five second and fifth holes had Tseng eyeing history.
She admitted she thought she was on pace to shoot a 59 for the day, a mythic mark analogous to batting .400 in baseball.
“On the back nine, I just couldn’t hit the ball,” Tseng said. “My body just didn’t match with my brain. I said ‘Okay, just be patient. Slow down.’ And my body just goes so fast.”
Tseng was paired Saturday with Natalie Gulbis, who was having a hot round of her own. Gulbis shot a 29 on the front nine, one stroke behind Tseng.
“It’s fun in the beginning because I’d never shot 29 before and actually got beat,” Gulbis said. “ I lost the honor on one hole after I had made five birdies in a row. I lost the honor because she just made eagle. Yani and I are pretty good friends. We had a good time out there. The golf course is just playing so easy. A lot of people were taking advantage of the front nine.”
Tseng’s torrid pace cooled a little on the back nine. She carded only three birdies after the turn, and the lone bogey on her scorecard came on the 342-yard par 4 17th.
She was able, however, to birdie the final hole of the round to perhaps recapture some of the mojo she had on her record setting day.
“I think I’m just going to still have fun and enjoy (today) and don’t try too hard and just keep relaxed and be patient,” Tseng said.