KUALA LUMPUR, 24 OCTOBER 2017 – The world’s best female golfers assembled at TPC Kuala Lumpur today, ahead of the 8th edition of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, which tees off on the East Course of TPC Kuala Lumpur this Thursday.
For four days, 78 players representing 22 different nations will vie for title honours and a share of the US$ 1.8 million purse in the tournament frequently referred to as Malaysia’s most fun golf event.
Leading the field will be the number one ranked golfer in the world, So Yeon Ryu. The 27-year-old Korean has enjoyed a phenomenal year on tour, claiming 12 top-10 finishes, including two wins, which have seen her power her way to the top spot – a position she has held for the last 18 weeks.
Speaking at the official press conference to launch this year’s tournament, Ryu said:
“I love this tournament. I have so many reasons why I love this tournament. First of all, we have the wonderful hospitality and we play a really nice golf course and we support cancer research here.
“Also, it's really great to see this tournament always supporting their local girls really well. I remember when I first met Natasha, I met her at the par 3, during the Pro-Am, and she was being supported in junior golf and now she's going to play in this tournament and I'm going to play with her. This is really, really special.”
Defending champion Shanshan Feng returns to the course that has seen her finish in either the top or runner-up spot for the last four years. The world no. 6 from China, who will be looking to make it three wins in four years, said:
“Coming back here reminds me of a lot of good memories, and I really like coming back to Malaysia. I love the food. I love the course. Of course, the weather, too, I don't mind. I play well here every year, so I love it.
“There are a lot of people speaking Chinese here, so I feel like I'm at home, and a lot of people actually are supporting me. So, I feel very comfortable coming back, and of course, this year, I'm coming back to pick up my membership card,” she joked.
Another player to enjoy a stellar run of form in 2017 is world no. 5 Anna Nordqvist. Two wins, including victory at the Evian Championship and a further three top-10 finishes, have seen the Swede climb up the rankings to her current position. Said Nordqvist:
“TPC Kuala Lumpur is such an amazing golf course. It's getting better and better every year; you thought it was in perfect condition and you show up and it looks even better, more flowers. It's just such a great atmosphere. We get treated so well; the good food in Malaysia. All the players obviously enjoy the shopping. Tried to stay out there yesterday and ran into the Commissioner. Probably go a few more times this week. Very happy to be back.
“I played with Shanshan a couple times here. Hopefully she will give the rest of us a chance this week. But great golf course, great track, and we couldn't be happier coming back here year after year.”
Leading the charge among the eight Malaysian nationals in this year’s field, is LPGA Tour pro Kelly Tan. The 23-year-old has endured a difficult year on tour in 2017 but will be hoping that, with home advantage, she will be able to rediscover the kind of form she knows she is capable of. Said Tan:
“I've been playing pretty good the past couple of events. The results just haven't really showed. I'm going to take this week as building up my confidence. Feeling pretty good with my past couple days of practice here. I haven't seen the course all year this year, and seeing it on Monday, the course is fantastic. Like the girls say, the course is always in great shape but every year it just gets better. I'm excited to play.”
Tan will be joined by the winner of the national qualifying tournament, sixteen-year-old Natasha Oon. Qualifying for the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia for the second time, the teenager is a prodigious talent for the future and will be one to watch on course this week.
Recognised for fielding one of the most competitive fields among any tournament staged in Asia, the eighth edition of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will be no exception. With 25 major victories among the competing players, this year’s showpiece includes no less than 18 out of the top 20, and 44 out of the top 50 players according to the 2017 LPGA Money List.
Speaking on behalf of tournament sponsor, Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of the Sime Darby Foundation, said:
“We welcome the international golfing community and the players from the LPGA Tour to Malaysia for the eighth edition of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. The tournament continues to serve as a catalyst for the development of women’s golf in this country, while also raising funds for Cancer Research Malaysia to carry out its pivotal work. Over the last two years, we have witnessed real progress in women’s golf here in Malaysia and we look forward to seeing the eight Malaysian female golfers compete against a world class field here at TPC Kuala Lumpur. I have no doubt that the 2017 edition of this tournament will be yet another wonderful spectacle and encourage golf fans and event goers alike to come to TPC Kuala Lumpur to enjoy the entertainment on offer.”
Grant Slack, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Golf, IMG Events, added:
“We’re delighted to be back at TPC Kuala Lumpur for the eighth edition of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Over the last seven years this tournament has built a distinct identity of its own and is recognised for the entertainment that takes place off course as much as the action on it. Once again, the tournament has a first class line up of golfers and an increasingly strong contingent of Malaysian players. We wish them all luck and look forward to what promises to be yet another exciting four days of golf, music and entertainment at TPC Kuala Lumpur.”
For tickets, which come with a goody bag including bottles of Gatorade and Sam Da Soo water, a La Cremeria ice cream, a pair of Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Pink Sunglasses, a RSH voucher and a RM10 Food Voucher, visit the tournament website at www.simedarbylpgamalaysia.comCome and see for yourself why the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia really is Malaysia’s most fun golf event. Follow us this week at www.facebook.com/SimeDarbyLPGAMalaysia, or via Twitter and Instagram using @SimeDarbyLPGA, #SimeDarbyLPGA, #WomenWithDrive #TPCKL