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Choi defends, Kerr mends as tour hits Asia

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INCHEON, South Korea – Na Yeon Choi is looking for her third-consecutive Hana Bank Championship when the LPGA’s annual swing through Asia begins Friday at the South Korean port city of Incheon.

The 23-year-old Korean is ranked fourth in the world, but has failed to win on tour this season. She will be up against 48 of the top-52 earners on the LPGA at the Sky 72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course just west of the capital Seoul.

“I have a lot of pressure (to win), but I hope to use that pressure in a good way,” Choi said. “I won a Korea LPGA tournament a month ago, so I have a lot of confidence, especially at this golf course.”

Also in the field is top-ranked Yani Tseng, who has five wins this year, including two majors to become the youngest player ever to win five majors in a career.

Tseng currently dominates all the year-end awards races, including the LPGA money list, the Rolex Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average.

Despite the success, however, Tseng continues to be a student of the game.

“Every tournament I just try my best,” she said. “I need to keep working hard and keep learning. There are a lot of things that I can achieve.”

Cristie Kerr also returns after forfeiting her final-day singles match for the United States at the Solheim Cup due to tendinitis in her right wrist. The U.S. team eventually lost by a point, giving Europe its first win since 2003.

Kerr said she is monitoring her wrist and is hopeful she will be able to compete.

“Tendonitis sometimes flares up and sometimes it goes away completely,” Kerr said. “We’re just going to have to take it day-by-day and see.”

The LPGA will move to Malaysia and Taiwan after South Korea, followed by the Mizuno Classic in Japan in the first week of November. The “Asia Swing” was originally scheduled to begin a week earlier with the inaugural Imperial Springs tournament in Guangzhou, China. However, the China Golf Association notified the LPGA just two weeks before the event was supposed to begin that the tournament would be canceled.