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Tseng takes 2nd after round one at Taiwan LPGA

TAIPEI -- World No. 1 female golfer Yani Tseng of Taiwan finished the first round of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship in second place, two strokes behind Inbee Park of South Korea, on Thursday.

Tseng shot six birdies and one bogey for a 5-under par 67, trailing World No. 5 Park, who fired seven birdies and zero bogeys for a 7-under 65.

“I played great today, I feel really good. I gave myself lots of birdie opportunities out there,” Tseng said in English at a press conference after first round.

The winner of last year's LPGA tournament in Taiwan, Tseng said she is aware of the pressure that everyone is talking about this week, but seeing the fans made her feel happy and relaxed.

Tseng said the putt she made on the 11th hole, following her only bogey on the 10th, was a “great” one because she didn't putt well on the front nine.

“So that number 11 hole, I think, is my turning point today,” the 23-year-old said.

She said it also cheered her up when she spotted her 7-month-old niece on the 12th and inspired her to hit three birdies in a row on the 13th, 14th and 15th holes. The other three were on holes 1, 6 and 11.

Meanwhile, Park said it was a “calm” day compared with last year, which made it much easier to play on the course.

“I hit the ball great,” Park, 24, told CNA shortly after finishing her first round.

The Sunrise Golf & Country Club course is known for its strong winds, which many players have said could be a factor affecting their performance.

Tseng, however, was hoping for strong winds, which she said would give her an advantage on the course, which she has practiced on for several years.

Support from Local Fans

The first round of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship began Thursday, with many golf fans at the course rooting for World No. 1 female golfer, Taiwan's own Yani Tseng.

“We are here to root for Yani Tseng,” said Feng Ming-ta, 31, who came with three of his colleagues.

Feng said he did not get a chance to see the Taiwan tournament last year, so he took a day off from work to spectate this year.

Many fans held Republic of China national flags and wore temporary tattoos of the flag on their cheeks to cheer Tseng on her home turf. Fans from countries such as Japan and South Korea also came to the Sunrise Golf and Country Club course in northern Taiwan's Toayuan County to follow their favorite players.

A total of 78 players are competing in the US$2 million tournament from Oct. 25-28, with US$300,000 going to the winner.

In 2011, the four-day tournament attracted over 66,000 spectators, but local media reported that ticket sales this year might be lower than last year given Tseng has suffered a prolonged slump this year — though she managed to finish third in last week's LPGA tournament in South Korea.

Organizers declined to give details of ticket sales or an estimate of the audience number this year.

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World No. 1 female golfer Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) makes a shot during the first round of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship in Taoyuan, yesterday. Tseng shot a 5-under 67 to take second place after the first round. (CNA)

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