American star Jessica Korda is aiming to become the first golfer in Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia history to successfully defend her title.
Korda, 23, comes into the tournament as one of the favourites, having hit a purple patch of form at the weekend’s Blue Bay LPGA in China where she narrowly missed out on the title by one stroke. But with one of the strongest fields ever assembled at the tournament, she won’t be the only one with an eye on the title and US$ 270,000 winners cheque.
“I’m just so happy to be here. Malaysia is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s nice to see everybody come out and support this event. I hope that everybody comes out and just has a great time, because we do, and we love it here. So just really happy to be back,” said Korda.
“Things are starting to slowly fall together. I changed coaches last year and have been going through some changes and finally I’m seeing some putts drop, which I haven’t for most of this year,” she added.
Korda was speaking at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia official press conference yesterday, also attended by World no.1 Lydia Ko, Thai star Ariya Jutanugarn, Canadian sensation Brooke Henderson and Malaysia’s top ranked player Kelly Tan.
Asked about her rivalry with World No 2 Jutanugarn, Ko said: “Ariya has played such great golf throughout the year, and when she won for the first time at Alabama, we kind of all knew it was coming, and sooner than ever. She’s just playing so consistently well, even last week, putting herself in contention. I mean, she’s just overall a very strong, confident player.
“I know that I’ve got a lot of work to do these last few events, but for me to just be in this position and have the opportunity to go for the Player of the Year again and all those other things that come at the end of the season, it’s been really cool,” added the Kiwi golfer.
Jutanugarn meanwhile noted that she will focus on having ‘fun golf’.
“I just keep playing and have fun golf and not worry about the Money List. It is good for me to have a chance but I’m not really worried about it. Of course I want to win something because that is really an honor for me but I just want to have fun and be happy on the course and that’s what I need to do,” said the big-hitting Thai.
Malaysian No 1 Tan lauded Sime Darby for their support of golf, saying: “From the first year, Sime Darby has always been a great support with the junior program and helped grow young juniors, and I’m not surprised to see nine girls out here. I just hope and wish everybody the best of luck and a great week.
“I’ve had a good start of the season this year. Really happy with where I was going, but the last two months have been a little tough but there’s a lot of events coming and I’m just trying to cope with the travel. But so far, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done this year, and super excited for next year. I’m just going to keep working on the same stuff.”
Managing Director of Sime Darby Property, Dato’ Ir. Jauhari Hamidi, said: “The tournament is delighted to welcome the world’s best female golfers to TPC Kuala Lumpur. We have witnessed some wonderful tournaments over the years, but I’m confident that 2016 will turn out to be a particularly special year. We look forward to four days of intense competition and excitement on course and a lot of fun off it. We wish all the players the very best of luck and we look forward to crowning a deserving champion on Sunday.”
The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia tees off on the East Course of TPC Kuala Lumpur from 27th October to 30th October. For the latest updates, visit the tournament website at www.simedarbylpgamalaysia.com. Tournament activities can also be followed on www.facebook.com/SimeDarbyLPGAMalaysia, or via Twitter and Instagram using @SimeDarbyLPGA, #SimeDarbyLPGA, #WomenWithDrive.