FENG RETURNS TO KUALA LUMPUR TO DEFEND
Shanshan Feng caught a glimpse of the scoreboard on her way to the 16th tee at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club a year ago. Her name was at the top and she ensured it would remain that way by posting an eagle on the 16th on her way to finishing off a final round 8-under-par 63. The win marked her fourth career LPGA Tour win.
However, Feng didn’t enter the final round with the lead. Instead, she trailed Pornanong Phatlum, who was looking for her first LPGA Tour win, by four shots entering the final round, but Phatlum’s final round 1-under-par 70 was no match for Feng’s career-low tying round of 63.
Feng was the fifth different winner in the previous five editions of this event. She also finished runner-up to Lexi Thompson in 2013.
NO. 1 WANTS NO. 17
It was only two months ago that Inbee Park won her 16th LPGA title - and seventh major championship - at the RICOH Women’s British Open. It was Park’s fourth win of 2015 but Lydia Ko has since reeled off back-to-back wins including a win at the season’s final major, to pull into a tie with Park with four wins on the season. More importantly, Ko’s substantially tightened the race for Rolex Player of the Year, Vare Trophy and money list title honors and has even pulled ahead in the Race to the CME Globe points standings. It’s been a phenomenal year for both regardless of how the last seven events end up, but this five-week Asian swing, which starts here in Kuala Lumpur, could be the difference for a great year and a career year for Park. Most importantly, it could be the difference between whether or not she gets her hands back on the Rolex Player of the Year and Vare Trophy after Stacy Lewis won both of them from Park in 2014.
Park’s got good vibes basically at every course she goes to these days as the world No. 1, but she’s won here before in 2012 with a 15-under-par four-day total. However, her other two efforts here - a tie for 46th in 2010 and tie for 32nd in 2013 - are a bit below her norm.
YOUNGEST MAJOR CHAMP IN SEARCH OF 10TH CAREER LPGA TITLE
18-year-old Lydia Ko became the youngest major champion in women’s golf history with her win at the Evian Championship a month ago. It was Ko’s ninth career title, and her second consecutive win after winning the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open two weeks prior.
Ko could not only win back-to-back-to-back starts with a win this week, but she could also become the youngest player ever to 10 career LPGA wins, a feat that would best Nancy Lopez’s previous record by more than 3.5 years.
She could also once again regain the world No. 1 ranking from Park with a win.
In Ko’s only career start here in 2014, she finished in a tie for 8th. Ko was just two shots back heading into the weekend a year ago after a second-round 64 but failed to challenge on the weekend with back-to-back rounds of 1-under-par 70.
Notably, with a win this week, Ko could become the first player since Inbee Park did it in 2013 to win three consecutive starts.
SPECIAL HONOR FOR A SPECIAL VENUE
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, the host of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, holds a distinction that no other venue in the world can claim in 2015. KLGCC will have hosted a PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, and European Tour event all in the same year.
This week Malaysian fans will get a glimpse of women’s golf’s best taking a crack at the East Course at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club with the LPGA’s stop sandwiched between the European Tour’s visit in early February for the Maybank Malaysian Open, which Anirban Lahiri won, and the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic. The CIMB Classic will tee off October 30 here on the West Course.
When Lexi Thompson, owner of five career wins, looks back at her career and thinks about the one tournament that got the ball rolling, the one that started the flood of wins, it might just be here in Kuala Lumpur. Thompson burst onto the scene as the youngest LPGA winner in history at the time with a win at the age of 16 at the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic, but for over two years she searched for the second. She got it here two years ago in 2013, a victory that seemingly opened the floodgates as Thompson went on to win again a month later at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational and then again for her first major title at the Kraft Nabisco just five short months later. Thompson won her fifth career title at the 2015 Meijer LPGA Classic in late July and has since racked up three consecutive top-10s with a runner-up in her last start at the Evian Championship.
SOLHEIM CUP ENCORE?
The United States Solheim Cup team completed the most dramatic and largest comeback in Solheim Cup history, taking 8.5 of 12 points on Sunday in singles play to narrowly edge out a 14.5 -13.5 victory over the Europeans. It was the United States first win in the Solheim Cup since 2009.
Here this week in Malaysia 10 of those 12 players on the winning team from Germany are back in action, hoping to carry over the momentum from a huge week into the remainder of the season. Only Cristie Kerr and Brittany Lincicome are not in the field this week. The 2017 Solheim Cup is set to take place in Des Moines, Iowa at Des Moines Golf and Country Club.
Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Field: 75 (73 professionals, 2 amateurs)
Oct. 8 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Oct. 9 5:00 a.m. - 7:30 a.m.
Oct. 10 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 11 12:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
All times listed are ET
Past Champions in Field
2014: Shanshan Feng (67-67-69-63=266/-18)
2013: Lexi Thompson (67-63-66-69=265/-19)
2012: Inbee Park (69-68-65-67=269/-15)
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