The Norman Transcript

Sports

April 4, 2013

Yani Tseng relaxed, set for Kraft Nabisco

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Yani Tseng lost the No. 1 spot in the world to Stacy Lewis three weeks ago in Phoenix, then was booted out of the Kia Classic a few days later when she overslept and missed her pro-am tee time.

Winless in more than a year, the 24-year-old Taiwanese star enters the Kraft Nabisco Championship in a far different position and frame of mind than she did last season.

“I’m totally fine,” Tseng said Wednesday, a day before the start of play at Mission Hills. “It takes a lot of pressure off. I feel like I don’t have to play like world No. 1 anymore. I mean, that gave me a lot of pressure. I think sometimes it feels really good that you can say to yourself that your goal is to be world No. 1. So now world No. 1 gives me a lot of motivation.”

Last year, the 24-year-old Taiwanese star won three of the first five tournaments of the season and entered the major championship fresh off consecutive victories in Phoenix and Carlsbad. She hasn’t won since, a drought that has hit 23 events, and has dropped to No. 2 in the world.

“I just want to enjoy the golf,” said Tseng, the 2010 winner at Mission Hills. “This is a game I loved when I was young, and I just want to play like childlike. I just want to smile on the golf course and show my best to the fans and to the people out there watching me and supporting me.”

While Tseng has struggled, Lewis has six victories in her last 24 events. She won four times last season to take the player of the year award and added consecutive titles this year in Singapore and Phoenix to wrest away the No. 1 spot — and the burdens that go with it.

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