ROGERS, Ark. – Taiwan’s Yani Tseng won the Northwest Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her third LPGA victory of the year, shooting a 6-under 65 to rally past second-round leader Michelle Wie.
Tseng birdied four of five holes early on the back nine, then held on for a one-stroke victory over Wie with a birdie on No. 18. Tseng finished at 13-under 200.
Wie (69) gave up the lead on the back nine – the same half of the course she played in 7-under 28 during a scintillating stretch Saturday.
Japan’s Mika Miyazato (64) was third at 10 under at Pinnacle Country Club.
Tseng has five career LPGA victories, including three majors. She won the Kraft Nabisco Championship and Women’s British Open this year.
Juli Inkster, who at 50 was trying to become the oldest player to win on the tour, entered the day tied for second, but shot 72 and finished seven shots back.
Inkster was grouped with Tseng and Wie on the final day, with the 20-year-old Wie trying for her second straight win. She won the Canadian Women’s Open late last month.
Wie led by three strokes after two rounds but fell into a tie with Inkster at 9 under when she three-putted No. 6 for a bogey. Wie responded with a birdie on No. 7 and led Tseng by two strokes after both players birdied the 11th.
Tseng kept the pressure on. Although Wie scrambled to make pars on Nos. 13, 14 and 15, Tseng birdied 12, 14 and 15 to take the lead.
Wie then bogeyed No. 16 to fall two strokes back, but hit an outstanding tee shot on the par-3 17th and made a birdie, one of only six on that hole all day.
That set up No. 18, a 515-yard par 5 that Wie had eagled the previous day. Tseng missed the fairway but hit a tremendous second shot from about 200 yards to the fringe, around 20 feet from the hole. Wie then missed the green with her second shot, all but ending her chances. Both players finished with birdies – Tseng’s on a putt from inside 2 feet.
Tseng has played well in majors, but she struggled in some of the less prestigious tournaments. Since winning the Women’s British Open, she tied for 45th at the Safeway Classic and missed the cut at the Canadian Women’s Open.
The Arkansas event was only 54 holes but had a loaded field with almost every top player in the world. Inbee Park (65) finished fourth, five strokes behind the winner. Jiyai Shin (66) and Seon Hwa Lee (69), the last two champions at this event, were in a group of players another shot back.
Ai Miyazato (67) tied for ninth, and Cristie Kerr (70) tied for 32nd.