PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Yani Tseng isn’t accustomed to this: 4-over par in an LPGA Tour major.
Luckily for the 23-year-old Taiwanese star, the winner of five majors already, there are three rounds to play on a course she dominated a year ago.
Tseng is chasing a trio of unlikely leaders in Beatriz Recari, Ryann O’Toole, and Giulia Sergas, who each shot 3-under 69 on Thursday to tie after the opening round of the LPGA Championship.
Despite matching her worst score of the year at 76, Tseng, the top women’s player in the world, was only seven shots off the lead after a round that included six bogeys and only two birdies.
“I just couldn’t hit a shot, couldn’t hit on the green, couldn’t hit on the fairway,” Tseng said. “It was really tough for me out there. I was very disappointed. I love the golf course and I know I can have a low score here.”
She did just that a year ago, shooting 19 under and winning by 10 shots. Duplicating the feat will be a challenge if she doesn’t snap out of her recent slump. In the Sybase Match Play Championship, she was knocked out in the round of 16, and last week tied for 12th at the ShopRite LPGA Classic – nine strokes behind winner Stacy Lewis.
“I know it’s my mental problem,” said Tseng, who won three of the first five tournaments on the LPGA Tour this year. “I’m hitting so well on the driving range, and when I get on the first tee there’s something wrong. I need to get my mental setup like before at the beginning of this year.”
The second major of the season was shaping up as a tight affair. Only 16 players broke par on a sun-splashed day that had only the hint of a breeze, and there was a virtual logjam behind the leaders.
Jeong Jang reached 5 under but bogeyed four of her final five holes to finish in a tie at 70 with Mika Miyazato, Cristie Kerr, Se Ri Pak, Na Yeon Choi, Ai Miyazato, and Paula Creamer. Lewis, who has won two of her last three starts, had a 72.
Michelle Wie, trying to break out of a season-long slump, opened with a 74.
Lee Westwood shot an 8-under 64 to lead by three strokes after the second round at the Nordea Masters on Thursday.
The third-ranked Englishman was at 12 under after playing with a new set of irons ahead of the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco next week.
He says “I putted nicely” and his score “could have been even lower but I left the ball on the edge of the hole a couple of times.”
Peter Hanson of Sweden (68), Scotland’s Lloyd Saltman (64) and Carlos del Moral of Spain (67) are next.
Saltman’s round was his lowest on the European Tour and included an albatross. He says “there was a big roar as I started walking, so I knew it must have gone in.”
Dan Forsman and Bill Glasson shared the first-round lead in the Regions Tradition, shooting 6-under 66 on Thursday at Shoal Creek in the second of the Champions Tour’s five major championships.
Glasson was in the first group teeing off and had sole possession of the lead for about four hours until Forsman capped a run of four straight birdies on No. 14 to catch up.
Fred Funk was a stroke back, and Bernard Langer opened with a 68.
Glasson closed his bogey-free round with a pair of birdies in a strong rebound from a 75th-place finish last week in Iowa in the Principal Charity Classic. Forsman, a five-time PGA Tour winner, won the season opener at Hualalai.
Defending champion Tom Lehman was three strokes back at 69.