Yani Tseng reinforced her reputation as the world’s finest woman golfer when she closed with a three under par 69 to win the Ricoh Women’s British Open over the Championship course at Carnoustie.
The World No. 1 from Taiwan arrived in the East of Scotland having won six Tour titles around the world this season and she made it into a magnificent seven with a remorseless efficiency that at times was reminiscent of the great Annika Sorenstam in her prime.
A couple of years ago, Tseng bought Sorenstam’s former home in Orlando, Florida, and it was confirmed that she has also assumed her mantle as the dominant player in the women’s game as she overhauled a two stroke deficit to third round leader, Caroline Masson, and went on to finish four shots ahead of America’s Brittany Lang on 16-under par 272. She won £239,047.
Tseng’s win was her second in-a-row at the Ricoh British Women’s Open and was also her fifth Major victory in a glorious 37-month spell stretching back to the McDonald’s LPGA Championship in 2008.
Last month, Tseng won her second LPGA title by a remarkable 10 shots to become the youngest woman player to win four Majors at the tender age of 22 years, 5 months and 3 days. Now it looks like being only a matter of time before she hones in on Sorenstam’s haul of 10 Majors, which was completed when the great Swede captured her third and last US Women’s Open at Newport Country Club in 2006.
Tseng started the final round two shots behind Masson and was momentarily three shots in arrears when she took five on the 394-yard par-4 opening hole. However, she drew level when the German dropped two shots on the 320-yard par-4 third and then forged ahead with birdies at the sixth and 11th.
Even back-back bogeys at the 12th and the 13th, the latter after her tee shot had struck the pin and ricocheted off the green, did not deter her as she cruised home with birdies on the 14th, 17th and 18th. That left her four shots in front of Lang, who closed with a fine four under par 68, and five in front of 2000 champion, Sophie Gustafson from Sweden, who closed strongly with three birdies in the last five holes to post a 68.
Korea’s Amy Yang carded a battling five under par 67 to claim fourth place on ten under par 278 while hope home, Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, the 2008 champion, dropped two shots at the closing hole to share of fifth place on 270 with Masson, who dropped eight shots at the start of the round but closed with birdies on the final two holes for a 78.
On a great day for the Asians, three South Koreans, Sun Young Yoo, Na Yeon Choi and Inbee Park, shared seventh place with Swede Anna Nordqvist on 280 but no-one could live with Tseng who seemed in cruise control as she claimed her fifth Major at just 22 years, 6 months and 8 days of age but then admitted that she was more nervous than she had ever been before.
“I was very nervous before we started, my stomach was hurting,” she said. “Normally, when I come from behind, I don’t feel nervous, but today was different.
“Last year helped a lot though. I felt like I was able to learn from my mistakes. I think I have done really well to be patient and to control the whole round today.
“This feels very special,” she added. “I am very happy and very appreciative. I mean it’s wonderful, especially winning on this golf course, in the Home of Golf. It’s an honour for me to be part of this. I did a really good job and I’m very proud of myself.”
Lang was one of the first players to congratulate Tseng on winning her fifth major.
“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “I can’t even imagine someone 22 years old winning five Majors. She’s so mentally strong and she’s so aggressive and confident. She’s just got it all. It’s pretty cool, cool to watch.”
Earlier in the morning America’s Katie Futcher tied the low round of the week set by Se Ri Pak and Inbee Park during the second round when she romped round the Championship course in eight under par 64.
The former two-time All-American from Pennsylvania State University went out in 35 but then stormed home in seven under par 29 with an eagle on the 14th and birdies on 10th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 17th. She started the day tied in 64th place but moved all in the way up into a share of 14th place alongside compatriot Cristie Kerr, Mika Miyazato from Japan, Candie Kung from Taiwan and Koreans Song-Hee Kim, Se Ri Pak and Sun Ju Ahn .
The three rounds of 64 recorded by Futcher, Pak and Park are the lowest ever returned by a woman over the Championship course at Carnoustie. The 2011 Ricoh Women’s British Open is the first women’s professional event ever staged at the famous East of Scotland venue. Previously, the lowest round was set by American Curtis Cup player, Anne Sander who carded a 68 during the qualifying for the 1973 British Women’s Amateur Championship.
The Smyth Salver awarded to the leading amateur was won by 2010 US Women’s Amateur champion, Danielle Kang who closed with a level par 72 to finish nine shots ahead of 2010 European Women’s Amateur champion, Sophia Popov, from Germany, on two under par 290.
Kang, a black belt in Tai Kwon Do at the age of seven, joins an illustrious group of former champions including Belle Robertson, Rebecca Hudson, Michele Wie, Amy Yang, Melissa Reid, Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open Championship Committee announced that it will donate £30,000 to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal as part of “Super Sunday”.
The Championship Committee announced earlier this year that it would donate money for each score under par made during the final round. A total of 235 birdies and four eagles were recorded during the final round raising £14,100 which the Championship Committee decided to increase to a total donation of £30,000.
The money raised on ‘Super Sunday’ will provide support for the Red Cross relief efforts to help those most affected by the natural disaster earlier this year.