Jessica Korda coasted to an imperious victory in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, closing with a superb six-under-par 65 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC).
The 22-year-old American finished on 18-under-par at KLGCC’s East Course, four shots ahead of World No 2 Lydia Ko of New Zealand, defending champion Shanshan Feng of China and former World No 1 Stacy Lewis of the USA. The victory gave Korda her fourth LPGA title and was the culmination of a recent resurgence following a spell of indifferent form.
Going into the last round with a two-shot lead, Korda made four birdies on the front nine to keep her pursuers at bay. She added three more birdies coming in against one dropped shot at the 11th and had the luxury of a four-shot lead playing the 18th.
“I knew that I was getting really close and just needed to stay patient. That’s all my caddie (Kyle Bradley) was telling me. He was on me all week about staying patient [and] that the putts will fall. So it’s just an incredible feeling,” said Korda, who had only one top 10 finish this year coming into the tournament.
Speaking about changes to her attitude and game following the appointment of new coach David Whelan, Korda said: “I know I was weirdly calm today. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to take care of myself. If somebody was going to make a hot start, that’s just the way it was going to be. I was going to continue playing my game.“
It was a disappointing outing for the five ‘Malaysian Angels’ in the field, with the country’s top player Kelly Tan claiming top local honours in 61st place on five-over-par.
With huge galleries swarming to KLGCC despite humid and slightly hazy conditions, the tournament set new benchmarks in terms of spectator engagement and off-course activities. The al fresco Courtyard Marquee was a popular focal point, offering excellent F&B along with ‘live’ TV screens and a great view of the practice green.
Food trucks and more activities in the Sponsors Pavilion and Kids Zone added to the carnival atmosphere as folk of all ages and from all walks of life enjoyed a great day out at KLGCC.