China’s Shanshan Feng fired a superb closing eight-under-par 63 to win the 2014 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, thanks to a six-under back nine that included an eagle on the par five 16th hole.
The eagle came as overnight leader Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand hit her tee shot into the water at the par three 15th, resulting in a double bogey and a four-shot swing – which proved to be the pivotal moment of an exciting final round at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club’s East Course.
“I have a habit that I don’t look at leaderboards during my play,” said Feng, who finished on 18-under-par. “Actually, I accidentally knew I was tied with her when I was on 16 green. I did not want to see the score, but I saw it.”
Asked how it felt to win in Malaysia for the first time, Feng said: “I really love this tournament. We have to thank our sponsor, Sime Darby, to have this chance to come to Malaysia every year. I’ve had a very good record here. Maybe just one time I was out of the top ten, but then I was top ten all the time. Last year I came close. I was second. So this year I improved. I can say I improved one shot!”
Phatlum closed with a 70 to seal sole runner-up spot on 15-under-par, narrowly missing becoming the first Thai to win on the LPGA Tour.
“I feel happy that I have a good week this week. Today I just didn’t make the putts although I still hit it very good,” said Phatlum.
In third place at 14-under-par were Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg, who equaled Feng’s eight under par low round of the day, and Koreans So Yeon Ryu and Chella Choi.
Among the Malaysian contingent it was Michelle Koh who left fans wondering what might have been. Shooting an impressive five-under-par 66 for the day, Koh tied with LPGA Tour professional Kelly Tan for top honours among the six Malaysian Angels competing in this year’s tournament. The pair finished at two-over-par in 49th place – an improvement on Koh’s position of 60 in 2013.
If it hadn’t been for her 78 in the third round, which included a two-stroke penalty for accepting a lift from a course marshal following a convenience break, the 23-year-old Koh would have finished even further up the table.