Aretha Pan Herng and Sarfina Vinota will tee-off with the world’s leading lady professionals in October’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia after earning their places through the National Qualifying event which ended today at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC). They will be joined by the Chinese Taipei duo of Ssu-Chia Cheng and Min Lee who topped the simultaneous Regional Qualifier.
The top two finishers in the national qualifier and the top two in the regional qualifier earned places in the US$1.9 million main event, which will be held this October 11-14 at KLGCC’s East Course.
Aretha topped the national qualifier with a total of 148, carding a superb second round of 71 after opening with 77. Sarfina meanwhile shot a 73 to add to her first round 78, claiming second spot on 151. Overnight leader Kelly Tan had a poor second round, closing with 81 to tie for third with Michelle Koh and Ainil Johani.
Said a relieved Aretha, who plays off a 0.2 handicap: “I started off badly but my caddy told me that I had another 17 holes to play and from there it just came together. I need to get some better fitness ahead of the four day event but other than that I won’t be changing anything and will just take it one shot at a time.”
16-year-old Sarfina was a picture of elation after signing her scorecard. “I’m so happy. Everything just fell into place today and I made all my putts. I’m excited and nervous at the thought of playing with the world best players but really looking forward to it,” she said.
Ssu-Chia Cheng and Min Lee finished in the top two of the regional division with scores of 149 and 151 respectively, with Lee just edging out Thailand’s Ajira Nualraksa on countback following the rain interrupted round.
The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will feature the top 62 available players from the LPGA Tour and 10 sponsor invites. Amongst the superstars expected are World No. 1 Yani Tseng of Chinese Taipei and South Korean World No. 3 Na Yeon Choi, who is also the defending champion and reigning US Open champion. Other big name draws include Americans Cristie Kerr, a former world No. 1 and 14-time LPGA Tour winner and fan favourite Paula Creamer.