IN THE PINK – RYU LOVES COMING TO KUALA LUMPUR
World No. 1 So Yeon Ryu was faced with a serious dilemma as she packed for this week’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. There was a definite lack of pink in her wardrobe.
It was a big deal to the world’s top player, as this tournament annually hosts “Pink Saturday,” asking players, staff and fans to don the shade in support of its ongoing fundraising for cancer research purposes.
“When I first got all my golf attire from Fila Golf, I just tried to find a pink but I couldn’t find any pink,” said Ryu, who moments earlier donned the pink sunglasses that will be handed out to fans. “Then I just freaked out. The only pink I could find was a little pink. That’s how much it meant to me, this tournament.”
But while fans will have to wait a few more days to see Ryu’s sartorial choice, she made one thing perfectly clear – she absolutely loves coming to Malaysia and TPC Kuala Lumpur. The 27-year-old native of the Republic of Korea is playing in her sixth Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia and has three top-five finishes to her name on the challenging layout.
“I pretty much love every hole, but I like the idea about 16,” said Ryu when asked her favorite hole on the tournament’s East Course. “We use two tees, and normally on Sunday we use the forward tee and the pin is on the back left quite often which is the toughest pin position at that green.”
That said, Sime Darby Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam pointed out another hole that suits Ryu’s eye quite well...
“When I played the Pro-Am (last year), I made a hole-in-one on No. 7, so maybe I should pick that one as my favorite,” said Ryu with a laugh.
NORDQVIST REFRESHED HEADING INTO SIME DARBY LPGA MALAYSIA
Evian champion Anna Nordqvist spent last week on a seemingly spectacular Thailand vacation, posting enough gorgeous Instagram pics to make even the most seasoned traveler jealous. It’s now back to reality for the 30-year-old Swede, although the scenery here at TPC Kuala Lumpur is just as picturesque.
“TPC Kuala Lumpur is such an amazing golf course,” said Nordqvist. “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.”
The two-time major champion had wonderful reviews of TPC Kuala Lumpur’s East Course, saying, “I think what’s so great about this golf course is it has character. Every hole is challenging, a lot of water. There’s a lot of pin placements and a lot of run-offs. There are a lot of holes that are really tricky, the greens, especially with longer irons.”
Nordqvist also hopes to give two-time champion Shanshan Feng a good run for her money this week, or at least that Feng gives the rest of the field a break.
“Played with Shanshan a couple times here,” said Nordqvist. “Hopefully she will give the rest of us a chance this week.”
MALAYSIAN DEBUT FOR ALTOMARE
This week marks up-and-coming American player Brittany Altomare’s debut at the heat-soaked TPC Kuala Lumpur. Altomare broke onto the golf scene with her runner-up finish at the Evian Championship in September, and admits that seeing her game come together is truly a dream come true.
“I’ve always wanted to play out here ever since I was little,” said Altomare, who was a four-year All-American at the University of Virginia. “It’s been a dream of mine. I always said, like I don’t want to just play out here. I want to compete and hopefully win. I feel like I’m heading that way and it’s just exciting.
Altomare attributes much of her success to the advice and friendship she received from caddie and former Tour professional Dewi Claire Schreefel, who looped for Altomare for much of 2017. “I realized having someone out there that you feel that’s on your team is going to help you makes a huge difference,” she said, “especially when you get in stressful situations.
Since Evian, Schreefel has hung up her caddie bib, opting instead to pursue a nine-month program in sports massage therapy and a dream of her own. While perhaps a little selfishly sad, Altomare knows that the person who helped her pursue her dream deserves nothing but the same.”
“Maybe she will come back out and caddie for me. I would love that,” said Altomare with a small chuckle. “She is doing something she’s always wanted to do, so I’m happy for her.”
Nine players in the field have played in all seven previous Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia events – Shanshan Feng (winner in 2014 and 2016), Sandra Gal (best finish, T6 in 2013), Eun-Hee Ji (best finish, T15 in 2015), Candie Kung (best finish, T9 in 2012),Stacy Lewis (best finish, T2 in 2015), Azahara Munoz (best finish, third in 2011), Anna Nordqvist (best finish, T3 in 2016), Suzann Pettersen (best finish, runner-up in 2016) and Amy Yang (best finish, T3 in 2016)
So Yeon Ryu is playing in her sixth Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; her best finish is T3 in 2014
There are seven players from Malaysia in this week’s field, led by Kelly Tan, the only Malaysian player on the LPGA Tour
“All the players obviously enjoy the shopping. Tried to stay out of there yesterday and ran into the Commissioner. Probably go a few more times this week.”
- Anna Nordqvist, on her Malaysian shopping exploits