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No place like home for former No. 1 Tseng

Yani Tseng
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NEWPORT BEACH, CA - MARCH 07: Chien Soon Lu of Taiwan putts on the 14th green during the third round of the Toshiba Classic at the Newport Beach Country Club on March 7, 2010 in Newport Beach, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)  - 

Yani Tseng was still No. 1 in the world when she was welcomed home at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship one year ago.

She’s back this week looking for some home cooking to help her correct course and stem her slide in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

She fell three more spots this week to No. 25, but this event has been good to her. She won the inaugural Taiwan Championship two years ago and finished third last year.

“I just feel like I know I have been through a lot of tough times,” Tseng said in her pre-tournament news conference. “I learned a lot. I learned from my mistakes, and I’ve tried to move on and do my best. I know a lot of people talk about it, and give me a lot of pressure, but I try to turn the pressure into motivation and try to do my best. That’s all I can do. I still have many years to come. I just try not to keep thinking too much and work hard.”

Tseng, 24, has won 15 LPGA titles, including five majors, but she’s looking for her first victory in 41 starts. Her last title was the Kia Classic in March of 2012.

There have been signs of improving form. Tseng has two top-10 finishes in her last five starts. She led the Safeway Classic going into the final round last month but opened that Sunday with a double bogey and shot 78.

Tseng is relishing the warm embrace of her homeland.

“I’m always very happy to be back here,” Tseng said. “It’s always very exciting to be back home because this year has been a little up and down, but every time I come back home, everything is forgotten. I feel a lot of positive thoughts and positive energy here. I feel good about the course, I have been practicing here for years, and I’m very excited to see all the fans out here. I’ll do my best.”

Tseng’s peers marvel at how strongly she is supported in Taiwan.

“I remember my first year here,” Suzann Pettersen said. “I was a couple groups behind Yani and when she was on the first tee, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like the crowds there. You play the Solheim Cup, and it’s 24 players, two teams, but here it’s literally one player that draws that big of a crowd. It’s quite amazing and they are good crowds. They appreciate good golf.”