Rory, meet Yani: Tseng wins 4th major by 10 shots

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Rory, meet Yani: Tseng wins 4th major by 10 shots


Yani Tseng of Taiwan watches her pitch shot onto the first green during the final round of the LPGA Championship in Pittsford, N.Y., Sunday. Tseng won by 10 strokes to become the youngest player with four LPGA Tour majors. [AP/YONHAP]

PITTSFORD, N.Y. - Yani Tseng has become the youngest player to claim four LPGA Tour majors, underlining her recent domination of the women’s tour by winning the LPGA Championship with a record-tying low score at a major on Sunday.

The 22-year-old Tseng closed with a 6-under 66 to win by 10 strokes, finishing at 19-under 269 at Locust Hill Country Club. Her triumph came a year after Cristie Kerr shot the same score to win the tournament by 12 strokes. Dottie Pepper (1999 Kraft Nabisco) and Karen Stupples (2004 Women’s British Open) also finished at 19 under in the past.

In terms of majors, the top-ranked Tseng beat the mark set by Korean Pak Se-ri, who was 24 when she won her fourth major. For the star from Taiwan, it was her eighth career LPGA Tour victory, second in a row and third of the season. She has three other victories this year, sweeping the Australian Open and Masters and winning in Taiwan.

Morgan Pressel (71) finished second. Kerr (69), Suzann Pettersen (67) and Paula Creamer (69) all tied for third at 8 under.

Tseng wasn’t satisfied with merely winning the LPGA Championship, though. Once she made the turn with a 10-stroke lead Sunday, she set her sights on making a little more history.

“I was like, ‘what’s a new goal for me?’’’ Tseng said. “And that’s why I told myself I wanted to set a record, to make 20 under.’’

She missed by one stroke in what was the only minor blemish.

“It’s very special,’’ Tseng said. “Now I’m thinking about a grand slam.’’

It’s one step at a time for the top-ranked Tseng, who won her second LPGA Championship and has won three of the tour’s last six majors. The only major she’s missing is the U.S. Women’s Open title, which she’ll have an opportunity to win in two weeks at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Pretty unbelievable,’’ said Kerr, who rallied late with a birdie on No. 16 and an eagle on 17. “Yani’s doing what I did last year. Obviously, it’s hard to beat. I’m not surprised. Yani’s a great player.’’

Pressel initially thought she’d have an outside chance to catch Tseng before the final round began. Pressel dropped that hope once she dropped a shot with a bogey on No. 2.

“It’s definitely a dominating performance,’’ Pressel said. “She didn’t make many mistakes out there.’’

In winning her second LPGA Championship, Tseng moved to 15th place among women with four majors, joining a group of six others, including Laura Davies and Meg Mallon.

By comparison, Annika Sorenstam was 24 when she won the first of her 10 majors - the 1995 U.S. Women’s Open. Tseng’s also ahead of Tiger Woods, who didn’t win his first major until he was 24.

Men or women, Tseng’s performance drew comparisons to Rory McIlroy, given that the up-and-coming Northern Irish star is also 22 and won last week’s U.S. Open by eight strokes.

Tseng went start to finish as the tournament leader after rounds of 66, 70 and 67. In holding one-shot leads after each of the first two rounds, Tseng began running away from the field on Saturday as she built a five-shot edge. It’s a lead she doubled by the time she made the turn Sunday.

Tseng finished the course with 27 birdies, six bogeys and a double bogey.


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

‘압도적인’ 청야니

웨그먼스서 10타 차 챔프 올라
22세에 최연소 메이저 4승째
내달 개막 US오픈 우승 땐
최연소 커리어 그랜드슬램

10타 차-. 포악한 질주였다. 청야니(대만)가 가장 어린 나이에 메이저대회에서 4승을 올리며 세계골프사를 새로 썼다. 청야니는 27일(한국시간) 미국 뉴욕주 피츠퍼드의 로커스트 힐 골프장(파72)에서 열린 LPGA 투어 시즌 두 번째 메이저대회인 웨그먼스 LPGA 챔피언십에서 19언더파로 우승했다. 5타 차 선두로 출발한 청야니는 마지막 날 6타(버디 8, 보기 2개)를 줄인 끝에 2위 모건 프레셀(미국·9언더파)를 무려 10타 차로 꺾었다. 우승상금 37만5000달러(약 4억600만원).

22세의 청야니는 이날 통산 8승 가운데 메이저 4승을 챙기면서 PGA와 LPGA 투어를 통틀어 역대 최연소 메이저대회 4승을 올린 선수로 기록됐다. 종전 기록은 타이거 우즈(2000년)와 박세리(2002년)로 당시 24세였다. 청야니는 2008년 맥도널드 LPGA 챔피언십(현 웨그먼스 LPGA 챔피언십)과 2010년 나비스코 챔피언십, 브리티시여자 오픈, 그리고 웨그먼스 LPGA 챔피언십에서 4승을 채웠다.

청야니는 첫 홀 티샷의 백스윙 때 누군가 카메라 셔터를 누르는 바람에 볼이 왼쪽 러프로 날아갔고 그 때문에 보기를 했지만 흔들리지 않았다. 곧바로 300야드의 장타를 날리며 2~4번 홀에서 3연속 버디로 추격자들을 따돌렸다.

은퇴한 골프여제 안니카 소렌스탐(스웨덴)은 “압도적인 승리”였으며 “LPGA의 새 얼굴(the new face of the LPGA)”이라고 칭찬했다. 골프닷컴은 “동갑내기 로리 매킬로이가 US오픈에서 위대한 승리를 보여주었다면 청야니는 메이저 4승을 거둔 현대의 최연소 선수가 됐다”고 평가했다.

청야니는 인터뷰에서 “나는 작은 나라 대만 출신이다. 온 국민이 전폭적으로 지지해 주고 있다는 것을 알고 있다. 항상 고맙다”며 눈시울을 붉혔다. 브레이크 없는 그의 기관차는 이제 ‘커리어 그랜드슬램 달성’에 맞춰져 있다. 커리어 그랜드슬램이란 4대 메이저인 나비스코 챔피언십과 웨그먼스 챔피언십, US여자 오픈, 브리티시여자 오픈을 두 시즌 이상에 걸쳐 모두 제패하는 것을 말한다.

청야니는 7월 7일 미국 콜로라도에서 개막하는 US여자 오픈을 우승하면 4대 메이저대회 타이틀을 모두 보유하게 된다. LPGA 투어는 총 6명이 이 타이틀을 갖고 있으며 현재의 메이저대회 체제로 바뀐 2000년대 이후에는 카리 웹(호주·27세 최연소 기록)과 안니카 소렌스탐만이 이 기록을 달성했다. PGA 투어는 타이거 우즈(24세 최연소 기록) 등 총 5명이다. 청야니가 US여자 오픈을 우승하게 되면 양대 투어의 최연소 커리어 그랜드슬램 기록도 갈아치우게 된다.

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