Tseng closes out Kia Classic victory
Carlsbad, CA (Sports Network) - Yani Tseng got right back into the winner's circle Sunday, firing a two-under 70 to close out a six-stroke victory at the Kia Classic.
The world No. 1 finished at 14-under-par 274 to capture her second consecutive title, third of the season and 15th of her career. She won last week's LPGA Founders Cup by one stroke over Ai Miyazato and Na Yeon Choi.
Tseng, who also set the tournament record, was the last player to win back-to- back events. She captured the LPGA State Farm Classic and Wegmans LPGA Championship in consecutive weeks last June.
It's not much of a shock that Tseng added another title to her resume. She has been nearly unbeatable lately when armed with at least a share of the lead heading into the final round, winning in seven of her last eight chances. Her only loss in that stretch came at last year's Kraft Nabisco Championship, where Stacy Lewis prevailed.
But Tseng entered Sunday at the Legends Course at La Costa Resort & Spa with a three-shot advantage, and nobody threatened her lead. Sun Young Yoo carded a one-under 71 to finish in second at minus-eight, while Shanshan Feng (67) and Jiyai Shin (74) shared third at seven-under.
"I think I played pretty good," Yoo said. "I just didn't make the short ones out there. It was a little too bumpy. [Tseng] played great. There is nothing I can say. Yeah, it was fun to watch and playing with Yani was fun."
While Tseng didn't shoot the best golf of her career this week, not many at the tournament played consistently well. Only 15 players finished below par.
Tseng's third round was bogey-free, but also marked by a lack of birdies as she wasn't able to sink short putts. Sunday was similar for the 23-year-old, who parred her first four in a row to remain at minus-12.
Shin, who played in the final group along with Tseng and Yoo, got within two strokes with a birdie at the second. The shot moved her to 10-under.
But Tseng converted her first birdie try at the par-four fifth, and Shin bogeyed the sixth to fall back to nine-under.
"I think that was the turning point for today, because I didn't make any birdies before that," Tseng said. "And [Shin and Yoo] seemed like they had a good rhythm to play well today, so that was a turning point for me."
That created a four-stroke gap, and while Shin came right back with a birdie at the seventh, she never caught up. At the ninth, Tseng made another birdie to make the turn at 14-under, while Shin stumbled to another bogey to fall back to minus-nine. That was the same score held by Yoo, who carded four birdies and two bogeys on the front nine.
Tseng continued to play clean golf on the back nine, and on Sunday, that was more than enough for her to cruise to the win.
Shin slid down the leaderboard thanks to four bogeys and two birdies on the back nine, while Yoo couldn't gain ground. She opened it with a birdie, but fell to back-to-back bogeys at 12 and 13.
Meanwhile, Tseng rolled in a birdie at the 15th to give herself more room to cruise to the finish. She bogeyed the last, but by that point, the tournament was hers.
Caroline Hedwall (74) and Ai Miyazato (70) shared fifth place at five-under 283.
NOTES: Tseng earned $255,000 for the victory...She also earned her 23rd point toward the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame. Tseng needs four more points to qualify, along with 10 years of LPGA service...Sandra Gal, last year's champion at this event, finished in a tie for 37th at five-over 293...Next weekend is the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the season's first major.
03/25 20:05:43 ET