Posted: 28 March 2012
by Golfmagic Tour
Yani Tseng used to be superstitious. That was until she embraced the Dinah Shore trophy on the first tee of the final round at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
It wasn't because she was ultra-confident - though, who could blame her? - it was more because her idol Lorena Ochoa used to perform the same ritual.
Tseng certainly won't be making the same mistake as she goes in search of claiming her sixth major championship this week.
“I've touched trophies many times because I know Lorena always did that,” revealed the Ladies No.1, who ended up losing her back-nine battle with American Stacy Lewis 12 months ago.
“So I did that a couple of times trying to make it similar to her before winning a tournament and it worked very well, but it just didn't work last year.
“After that, I haven't touched a trophy again on the first tee. I will never look at it again.”
Yet for someone who is not used to losing, failing can also turn into helpful motivation.
Tseng sees last year's second place finish as a learning experience and served as a positive stepping stone in improving her mental game.
“That experience gave me lots of things to improve on,” added the 23-year-old Taiwanese sensation.
“I know my emotional control wasn't very good. I was very stressful after I missed a putt after I made a bad shot.
“But after that tournament, I had a little meeting with my team, my trainer, to see how much I can improve on the tournament, and I did after that.”
Since that frightful Sunday evening at Mission Hills Country Club, Tseng has won nine of her last 19 events on the LPGA Tour - a period in which she became the youngest ever golfer in history to achieve five majors with a runaway victory at the Women's British Open.
One player looking to deny Tseng a sixth major championship this week is Swedish Solheim Cup star Suzann Petterson, who has finished runner-up in this event three times since 2007.
While respecting the game of Tseng, the Swede believes she is more than capable of beating her.
“What Yani's done is phenomenal. She's won five majors and she's 23 years old. She's a very consistent contender every week,” said the Swede, who has one major title to her name at the 2007 LPGA Championship.
“But I still think it's possible to play better than her. I believe in my own game. I know what I've done in the past, and I know what I'm capable of doing.
“I don't try to compare myself to other players. I know if I can finish what I've started, I think I can be pretty good.”
Kraft Nabisco Championship
Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage, California
Thursday March 29 to Sunday April 1
Par-72; 6,738 yards
$2,000,000 (winner: $300,000)
Stacy Lewis (-13)
Most wins: 3 (Amy Alcott 1983, 1988, 1991; Betsy King 1987, 1990, 1997; Annika Sorenstam 2001, 2002, 2005)
Lowest score to par: -19 (Dottie Pepper 1999)
Did you know?
The most recognized tradition in women's golf is undoubtedly the jump into Poppie's Pond by the winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship
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