Tears of relief for Tseng as she survives last-day slump
Yani Tseng yesterday became the youngest golfer ever to win three majors but it is fair to say the experience put years on her.
On holing a six-footer on the 18th to lift the Ricoh Women's British Open title, the 21-year-old dissolved into tears after so almost letting slip a lead she had held for four days.
The unheralded Australian Katherine Hull took the Taiwanese to the brink and, for a moment on the final hole, was actually the favourite to prevail.
But the nerves suddenly hit Hull, too, as her chipped third shot from behind the par-five green came up short and a par was enough for Tseng to collect a "big four" hat-trick at an unprecedented young age.
"I was really, really nervous," admitted Tseng, who held an overnight four-stroke lead. "I was so tired today, as there was so much expectation and so much pressure.
"Katherine pushed me so hard. Four shots is nothing on a golf course like this. I just tried to keep calm and remember the advice given to me."
That advice came from a few famous sources. Earlier this year, she had lunch with Lu Liang-Huan, her veteran countryman better known in Britain as "Mr Lu" after running Lee Trevino so close at Birkdale in 1971. If he could provide the local knowledge, then Annika Sorenstam provided the winning knowledge.
"She texted me today to say 'just have fun, you can do it'," revealed the new champion. The Swede is something of a mentor to Tseng. Sorenstam sat her down at the start of the season and told her what was required to become the world No 1. Then, after selling her a house in Orlando, gave her a mission to fill the huge trophy cabinet.
"Annika won 10 majors and I now have three," said Tseng, who also won the Kraft Nabisco earlier this year. "I hope there are more to come."
There will be. Although Tseng's closing 73 was shaky, overall her front-running display after wresting the first-round advantage was deeply impressive. Tseng has everything it takes to emerge from the power struggle to decide who will fill the spikes of Sorenstam and her successor as the undisputed No 1, Lorena Ochoa.
Alas, it was a miserable week for the home challenge. Having celebrated the winner last year, the best Briton this time around was Wales's Becky Brewerton in a tie for 21st.
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