Cindy Lee-Pridgen and Michelle Koh earned spots in the US$2 million Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, after emerging triumphant at the Local Qualifying Tournament which ended today at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC).
The two-day tournament witnessed nine of Malaysia’s top female golfers among the contenders challenging for the coveted opportunity of competing among the LPGA’s superstars next month.
The 37-year-old Lee-Pridgen claimed victory at KLGCC’s East Course on the back of rounds 71 and 75 for a two-day total of four-over-par 146, while 23-year-old Koh wrapped up her challenge four shots back on a total of 150 (75-75).
“I shot two bogeys and then a double on the ninth so not a great start but then made the turn and am just really glad I had such a good caddie this week. He kept saying ‘I’ll pull the club and you just hit it’ so off we went and it seemed to work,” said Lee-Pridgen, who received a sponsor’s invite to compete in the inaugural edition in 2010.
“I’ll be looking to erase some bad memories of 2010 but will focus on trying to get a little bit more distance on the drives, and work on my alignment between now and the tournament. But I’m just delighted to be playing,” added the US-based Cactus Tour player.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was told that I had qualified – I was just speechless. I find it a really tough course so I’m just so excited to be playing,” said Koh, a graduate from the 2013 Sime Darby LPGA Development Programme.
Both players will be joined by Taiwanese players Yu-Shin Chang and Pei-Yun Chien who both sealed their berths after winning the concurrent Regional Qualifying Tournament following a three-way playoff with last year’s winner Ssu-Chia Cheng. With all three players carding 143 after 36 holes of play, the 18th hole playoff today saw Ssu-Chia Cheng drop a shot which then presented her compatriots with their win.
“We are very proud to have Cindy and Michelle representing Malaysia while competing amongst the very best female golfers at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Their achievement today illustrates the hard work and preparation that they have put in for the qualifying tournament. As they continue to train for the tournament, I hope this opportunity will spur them to work even harder and show themselves to be the true champions they are capable of,” expressed Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of Sime Darby Foundation.
Meanwhile, title sponsors Sime Darby also revealed in an announcement last week that international golf stars Shanshan Feng of China, Suzann Pettersen of Norway, American Cristie Kerr and Korean stars So Yeon Ryu and Jiyai Shin, will join World No. 1 and defending champion Inbee Park in the fourth edition. In July, Americans Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer, South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi, Japan’s Ai Miyazato and Spaniard Beatriz Recari confirmed their participations as well.
To be played October 10-13, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will see 72 golfers comprising the top 62 available players from the LPGA Tour and 10 sponsor invites, including the four players from the local and regional qualifiers. The fourth edition of the event marks the first of four consecutive tournaments in the LPGA’s Asian swing and features a 72-hole stroke play, no cut event.
For more information on the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2013, visit www.simedarbylpgamalaysia.com.