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Tseng Yani all smiles as form returns in Thailand

24 Feb 2013, 18:47 IST

PATTAYA, Thailand (AFP) –

Tseng Yani says smiling as she plays has lifted her golf game.

Tseng Yani of Taiwan reacts during the third round of the Honda LPGA Thailand golf tournament in Pattaya on February 23, 2013.

World number one Tseng Yani said smiling while she plays has lifted her game this season as she delivered a devastating nine-under par final round at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Sunday.

The 24-year-old “Pride of Taiwan” finished with a share of third after matching the course record with a final day 63 at the Siam Country Club in Pattaya.

A poor 2012 campaign, where she constantly struggled to make the top ten, raised questions over the durability of the leading star of women’s golf — who has topped the world rankings for 106 weeks but arrived in Thailand with a slim 1.29 points lead over South Korea’s Choi Na-Yeon.

But a second place in the Women’s Australian Open last week suggested a return to form, something confirmed with a scintillating final round marked by an eagle and seven birdies in Thailand.

“I’m much more relaxed than last year… it’s bringing an improvement,” Yani said of her second strong Sunday finish in a row.

“I’m smiling more and being more relaxed on the course.”

Although only 24 herself, Yani also hailed the quality of younger players including 17-year-old Thai teen sensation Ariya Jutanugarn who stumbled at the final hole with victory within her grasp.

“We better watch out,” Yani said. “I’m still young but not as young as before. I’m very impressed with her (Ariya).”

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