October 10, 2012
Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2012 Begins Tomorrow
By Jugjet Singh@www.nst.com.my
Tan Sri Dr. M.Jegathesan and Company
THE foxy ladies are back in town but will set aside their branded handbags and replace them with bulky golf bags for the third edition of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia which tees off tomorrow.
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng, currently the best player in the world, Sime Darby defending champion Choi Na Yeon of South Korea, Stacy Lewis of the United states and China’s Feng Shanshan will be among the players battling for for the top purse in the US$1.9 million (RM5.8 million) event.
As for the hosts, the wild cards will be in the form of Ainil Johani and Jean Chua, both of whom will be aiming to at least make the midway cut.
Jean is a member on the LPGA’s developmental Symetra Tour and has been in consistent form, missing just one cut in her last 13 events coupled with four top-10 finishes.
Ainil, for her part, turned professional last year and has made a strong impression finishing joint 12th at last year’s US$300,000 Women’s India Open, a Ladies European Tour (LET) event.
“We are delighted that through our sponsorship of this world class event we are able to further promote and develop the sport, not just in Malaysia, but around Asia as well,” said governing council member of Sime Darby Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan.
In an historic first for the tournament, it will see all four of the year’s major winners in action at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
The quartet of Yoo Sun Young, winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Shanshan (LPGA Championship), Na Yeon (US Open) and Shin Jiyai (British Open) will be part of the 72-player field which comprises the top 62 players on the LPGA Tour and 10 sponsors invitees.
World No 3 Shanshan summed up the Asian revolution on the women’s circuit saying that the competition is very keen in China even though women’s golf is still in its infancy in her country.
“I would like to make an impression like our tennis star Li Na who won the French Open and opened up tennis in my country,” said Shanshan.
In the 2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship, the 23-year-old outplayed World No 2 Stacy Lewis, Karrie Webb of Australia and Japan’s Mika Miyazato to emerge as the first player from China to win an LPGA major championship. She was also the first player from China, male or female, to win a major.
South Korea’s Na Yeon (right 2011 Champion), who won the 2011 edition with a 15-under 269, said she hopes to get the support of the legion of Korean and Malaysian fans.
“It is really exciting to be back. KLGCC was very exciting last year with many fans from Malaysia and Korea behind my game,” said Na Yeon.