GOALS MET FOR ROOKIE SAGSTROM
Without a doubt, Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom is having a rookie season to remember. The 24-year-old, who attended Louisiana State University, reached the big leagues after taking three Symetra Tour victories in 2016 and setting a single-season earnings record. Now in her first year on the LPGA Tour, she competed in four of the season’s five majors and even earned one of Captain Annika Sorenstam’s coveted picks to join the European Solheim Cup Team.
Sagstrom makes her Malaysian debut fresh off a career-best finish of T4 at last week’s Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship. Her big smile when she talked about her season was indicative of just what a great time she’s having right now, living her absolute dream.
“I think I put a little bit too much pressure on myself throughout the year, and right now I’m at the point where I’ve achieved all my goals for the season,” said Sagstrom, who is teeing it up for the last time before November’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship. “I’m kind of relaxed and I can just go out and play my game and have fun and I’m trusting my swing. Just playing out here, it’s amazing.”
FENG NOT QUITE HAPPY, BUT STILL IN USUAL MALAYSIAN CONTENTION
It’s no secret that Shanshan Feng is the master of TPC Kuala Lumpur. With victories in 2014 and 2016 to go with runner-up finishes in 2013 and 2015, Feng is undoubtedly the one to beat this week. So it’s more than a little scary that after her first-round 66, she thinks she actually left some shots on the golf course.=
“I left myself so many birdie chances,” said Feng, who carded a bogey-free round on Thursday. “I actually missed a couple out there. I think that’s a good thing to do. I think that means maybe I can still make more on the weekend. I think it’s a good start.”
JI STILL RIDING HIGH OFF SWINGING SKIRTS VICTORY
When Eun-Hee Ji captured last week’s Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship, it had been more than eight years since her last victory. Fast forward four days and move some 2,000 miles southwest, and she’s right back in contention.
“The players still talk to me a lot. I’m still excited,” said Ji with a big smile on her face.
With the big win still fresh on her mind, Ji carded seven birdies to two bogeys on Thursday, and pointed to her many appearances in this tournament as something that certainly helped with today’s successful round.
“I played here quite a long time.” said Ji, who is one of nine players in this week’s field to have competed in every tournament at TPC Kuala Lumpur. “I know this golf course. I know what I need to do. So just little more comfortable.”
Lydia Ko is playing in her fourth Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, and she has never finished worse than 12th (T12, 2016; T2, 2015; T8, 2014)
Su Oh and Madelene Sagstrom are making their debuts in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
Eun-Hee Ji and Shanshan Feng are two of the nine players to have played in all seven previous Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia events; Ji’s best finish was T15 in 2015, while Feng is the 2016 and 2016 champion
Sagstrom’s first-round 66 is tied for the second-lowest round of her career; she has twice shot a 65 this season, and shot a 66 in the third round of the 2017 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
Ally McDonald withdrew during the round due to illness
“It’s just about confidence. So hopefully I’m going to play with confidence the next few days.”
- Lydia Ko, on the key to her recent success
“I think I’m good at faking that.”
- Suzann Pettersen, when told she looks comfortable in the heat