This year’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will boast a number of new initiatives, designed to maintain its position as one of the region’s leading golf events while ensuring a great day out for all spectators. Chinese star Shanshan Feng has also confirmed that she will return to defend her title when the sixth edition tees-off at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) this October 8-11.
The initiatives include new qualification criteria for Malaysians which could see as many as seven locals teeing off at KLGCC’s East Course come tournament week.
The qualifying tournament will now see one spot awarded to the winner, from any nation, and a further two places awarded to the top two Malaysians. If the tournament is won by a Malaysian, then three Malaysian players will qualify.
The top-three ranked Malaysians in the Rolex World Rankings will gain automatic entry into the US$2 million tournament. If Malaysian No 1 Kelly Tan earns her place through the LPGA ranking, then there could be as many a seven local professionals in the field.
“The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia has played an instrumental role in the development of my game and my ability to reach the LPGA Tour,” said Kelly. “The combination of the match practice within an elite field and the support I received earlier in my career from the Sime Darby Foundation gave me the skills that are necessary to compete at this level.
“One of my main targets for this year will be to qualify for the tournament through the LPGA and to fly the flag for Malaysia yet again.”
The focal point of the social scene at this year’s tournament will be the Courtyard Marquee, a new covered area overlooking the practice putting green and the 18th hole which will be open to the public. With food stalls, live DJ, views of the giant TV screen and a Players’ Corner where visitors can get to meet the stars, it promises to be the place to ‘see and be seen’ during tournament week.
Spectators can expect an interesting addition this year with the ‘Big Makan’ Challenge held daily from 4pm onwards at the Courtyard Marquee, featuring local and international cuisine from the various food stalls. To participate, a donation of RM50 is required which will be channelled to the event’s Official Charitable Partner, the Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation CARIF. Participants are given only 45 minutes to complete the challenge.
Embracing the trend sweeping Malaysia, visitors will be able to enjoy a range of authentic Malaysian cuisine produced by some of KL’s best chefs who will be selling their gastronomic specialities from food trucks stationed within the tournament concourse. With prices capped at RM 10- per dish – and a free dish included within the ticket price – the initiative will bring a new dimension to the tournament
Friday, October 9 has been designated Ladies Day @ Sime Darby LPGA. Not only will all women be granted free access to the tournament, there will also be a host of health, beauty and fashion activities created especially for the ladies.
Once again, the tournament will raise funds and awareness for CARIF with all proceeds going towards the foundation. Pink Saturday will return with a host of charitable initiatives designed to add colour to the occasion. Since its inaugural year in 2010, the tournament has raised in excess of RM 2.5 million for the charity.
2015 also sees the launch of a new talent search initiative from Sime Darby and KLGCC –‘Rising Star Juniors is a community-sports programme targeting boys and girls between the ages of 12 to 17 from underprivileged backgrounds. The two-year programme, which currently has 18 students under tuition, will provide these junior hopefuls with life-skills assistance and golf playing opportunities to produce successful, well-rounded and educated young golfers in a collaborative effort initiated by KLGCC with funding from the Sime Darby Foundation and support from KLGCC members and MST Golf.
The four days of action packed fun will once again be promoted under the tournament’s ‘Women with Drive’ slogan which aims to encapsulate the ethos of the tournament, the dedication of its players, and the battle against breast cancer in Malaysia.
Chairman of Sime Darby Foundation, Tun Musa Hitam, explained: “Now into its sixth year, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia has established itself not just as one of Malaysia’s leading golf tournaments, but one of Asia’s preeminent events. Over the years, the tournament has provided an excellent platform for the development of women’s golf in Malaysia which continues to show real progress and promise for the future, while making a very valuable annual contribution to the essential work undertaken by our charitable partner CARIF.”
“The introduction of the Rising Star Juniors programme, complimenting the Sime Darby LPGA Development Programme, further strengthens our commitment to providing young Malaysian golfers, from all sectors of the community, with a genuine pathway from grassroots golf to an international stage,” continued Tun Musa.
The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will boast a field of 75 players, made up of 63 players from the LPGA Tour, a minimum of five Malaysian nationals and seven further sponsor exemptions. There is no cut in the 72-hole stroke play event.
For updates, visit the tournament website at www.simedarbylpgamalaysia.com. Tournament activities can also be followed on Twitter and Instagram @SimeDarbyLPGA, #SimeDarbyLPGA and #WomenWithDrive.