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Tseng drops to 3rd at Sunrise LPGA

TAIPEI--Taiwan's Yani Tseng shot a 3-under-par 69 that tied her for third place, two strokes behind top-ranked South Korea's Inbee Park and Norway's Suzann Pettersen after the second round of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship Friday.

World No. 1 female golfer Tseng shot four birdies and one bogey to card an 8-under two-round total of 136, trailing behind World No. 5 Park and No. 7 Pettersen, who both finished with 10-under two-round totals of 134.

Tseng has been in a prolonged slump, at least by her lofty standards, but fans attending the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship on Friday insisted that they remained firmly behind her.

“It has absolutely not affected our support for her,” 36-year-old Lan Yi-chun told CNA before Tseng began her second round.

“Everyone has low periods. Tiger Woods slumped for three years,” said Mandy Shen, who gathered a five-member group from her golf club in Taichung to root for Tseng, who entered the second round in second place, two shots behind Inbee Park of South Korea.

Shen and her friends held pink placards that read “I just love you” in Chinese and shouted “Go! Yani” before Tseng made her first birdie of the day at the second hole.

The successful birdie putt drew a loud roar from the appreciative crowd and put a smile on Tseng's face.

But despite the obvious fan devotion shown at the course, some believe Tseng's struggles have dampened enthusiasm and explain why attendance at this year's LPGA event in Taiwan is down from last year's record-setting turnout.

Over 66,000 spectators flooded the Sunrise Golf & Country Club during the four-day tournament in 2011, a record high for any golf event in Taiwan, including 12,000 the first day. This year, 5,500 fans showed up for Thursday's first round.

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Inbee Park, of South Korea, tees off at the fourth hole during the second round of the Sunrise LPGA in Taoyuan, yesterday.(AFP)

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