Through all the frustration of struggling to regain the form that once made her the most dominant player in the women’s game, Yani Tseng hasn’t lost her determination.
That came out after she posted a 5-under-par 66 Thursday to take a share of the lead through the morning wave at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic.
The former world No. 1 is seeking her 16th LPGA title, her first in six years.
“It’s been a long time,” Tseng said. “I know it's still in there. I know I can still win a tournament. I just need to keep grinding and stay positive. Just feel like I've still got this.”
Tseng, 29, seeking her first top-10 finish in 70 starts, since tying for second at the HanaBank Championship in 2015, posted a bogey-free round. She was tied for the lead through the morning wave with I.K. Kim, Jacqui Concolino and Katelyn Dambaugh.
Tseng reigned as world No. 1 for 109 weeks back in the 2011 and ’13 seasons. A wayward driver led to some struggles, with a loss of confidence bleeding into other parts of her game. Though she enters this week at No. 258 in the world, she said she has felt promising improvements for some time. Her 66 was her lowest round on tour in 17 months, since she posted a 65 at the Honda LPGA Thailand early in 2017.
“I still enjoy the game, still love golf,” Tseng said. “Every year, I feel like just keep grinding, and I want to be here so bad. I want to win a tournament really bad. I've been playing good these couple years, I've just not been able to score.”
Tseng says her putting has been holding her back. She’s second in driving distance on tour (275.9 yards per game) this season, 38th in greens in regulation (70.9 percent) and 143rd in putts per GIR.
“Just need to get that putting going a little bit,” she said. “Today, I dropped a few.
“My game's better, my skill's better, my swing is better than when I was playing my best. I feel like it's more about the process now. I know if I stay patient, the results will come.”