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Golf: Taiwan fans rally behind dethroned Tseng

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Fans of dethroned Taiwan golf queen Tseng Yani rallied behind her Monday, encouraging her to fight back and reclaim her world number one title a day after American Stacy Lewis toppled her from the top spot.

Lewis claimed the title by firing a final-round eight-under par 64 at the LPGA Founders Cup to beat Japan's Ai Miyazato by three strokes while Tseng finished with a share of 59th place, 19 strokes off the pace.

Fans of Tseng, one of Taiwan's most beloved sports stars, were quick to show their support for her on social media sites and on-line forums, encouraging her to reclaim the title she held for two years.

"The burden on Yani's shoulder is so heavy and I don't know who can bear it ... We all know Yani has done a lot for Taiwan and I hope everybody will continue to cheer her on," said one of the messages posted on the Facebook page of the golfer known as "The Pride of Taiwan".

"I am upset that Stacy becomes the golf queen but let's just take it easy. Yani will fight in the next game and I think she can get the title back," another fan wrote.

Taiwan's state Central News Agency said the setback could be a blessing in disguise for the 24-year-old, who has been struggling during two increasingly difficult years at the top.

"Tseng Yani faces a wider road ahead after the pressure from holding the title is gone," it said. "Tseng has been optimistic and we can look forward to her improved performance."

Tseng was reduced to tears last year as pressure built after a string of missed cuts, and after winning seven titles in 2011 she is now searching for her first victory in a year.

Earlier this month, Tseng admitted she would almost be glad to be toppled from the "very lonely" spot of world number one.

"I don't care if I lose (world number one). I don't really care about world number one now -- I just want to have fun," she said during a tournament in Singapore.

"World number one, I know it's good and people like it, but I want to care about myself more and I just want to enjoy (myself). If I lose (it), I'll get back one day too."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130318/golf-taiwan-fans-rally-behind-dethroned-tseng