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Friday, June 13, 2008

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Major Honor

by David Shefter   USGA

Another major champion paid the U.S. Open a visit on Thursday. Yani Tseng, who at 19 became the second-youngest to ever win a major when she won the McDonald's LPGA Championship last week, was the special guest of NBC on-course commentator Dottie Pepper. Tseng walked inside the ropes with the day's marquee grouping: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott. The Chinese Taipei native now resides in southern California, so getting to Torrey Pines was just a short drive.

Before her major victory, Tseng was best known for defeating 14-year-old Michelle Wie at the 2004 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links in Williamsburg, Va., when she was 15. Wie had entered as the defending champion. Tseng was a WAPL semifinalist in 2005 and quarterfinalist in 2006, beaten both years by Florida resident Tiffany Chudy.

But coming to the U.S. Open was an eye-opening experience.

"I've never seen this many people on a golf course, all moving," Tseng told USA Today. "There were so many roars. It would be hard to focus with all the yelling, but those guys hang in there and enjoy it."

Tseng admitted to having a crush on the Australian sensation Scott. She also loves watching Woods and the ever-smiling Mickelson, a demeanor Tseng often takes to the course every day. "That's what I do," she said, "...even if things are bad on the course."

When the round concluded, Tseng got a couple of precious autographs from Scott, including his signature on a recent Golf World magazine with her on the cover.


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