PINK SATURDAY FEELS JUST FINE TO KERR
Since the inception of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia in 2010, the tournament has partnered with Cancer Research Malaysia in raising awareness for breast cancer detection and prevention. On today’s “Pink Saturday,” where players and fans were encouraged to wear pink in support of these endeavors, perhaps it is only fitting that Cristie Kerr, a long-time crusader for breast cancer awareness, ended the day at the top of the leaderboard.
“The average size of a tumor in America is the size of your pinky nail. Here it’s the size of a fist,” said Kerr, who runs the Birdies for Breast Cancer organization. “Getting the message out into the community that early detection is the key is really huge. So this is a beacon for women’s health, this tournament.”
Kerr already has one victory under her belt in 2017 and nine other top-10 finishes. With 19 LPGA Tour victories to her name, the 20-year veteran knows exactly what she needs to do heading into tomorrow’s final round.
“I didn’t hit it great coming in on the back but I didn’t stress about it,” said Kerr, who won the LOTTE Championship presented by Hershey in April. “I just tried to do the best I could. That’s where I play my best golf from; I try to do the best on every shot, so that’s my mantra tomorrow.”
UNCHARTED TERRITORY FOR SMITH
For 11-year LPGA pro Sarah Jane Smith, it was a different, yet welcome, route to her first tee shot today at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
“I was actually joking with my husband this morning, it was my first time ever teeing off 1,” said Smith, who finished T49 in 2014 and T58 in 2016. “I haven’t had a lot of success here in the past, but I love it. I love this golf course.
In her decade-plus on the LPGA Tour, Smith has yet to crack the winner’s circle and has but three top-three finishes to her name. But the native Australian, who travels the world with husband Duane on the bag, sees potential in her game as she heads into tomorrow’s final round.
“My swing is finally starting to feel a little more in control, said Smith, who will play in Sunday’s penultimate group with Stacy Lewis and Jacqui Concolino, again off the first tee. “I get so fast, so to be able to slow it down has made things a lot easier. It was tough in the beginning but it’s starting to feel more comfortable.”
Cristie Kerr is playing in her fifth Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia and first since 2013; her best finish was eighth in 2010
Shanshan Feng is one of the nine players to have played in all seven previous Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia events; she is the 2014 and 2016 champion, and was runner-up in 2013 and 2015
Sei Young Kim is playing in her second Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, she finished 51st in 2015
Stacy Lewis is one of the nine players to have played in all seven previous Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia events; she tied for second in 2015
Jacqui Concolino is playing in her second Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; she finished 70th in 2013