Malaysian golfers made a clean sweep in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia National Qualifying Tournament at TPC Kuala Lumpur’s East Course, with professional Aretha Pan leading the way with a two-day total of 144.
Pan added a closing 75 to her opening 69 to claim top spot and earn a start in the US$1.8 million Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia this October 27-30. She will be joined by Malaysian amateurs Nur Durriyah and Ashley Lau, who finished second and third respectively to claim the two local qualifying places. Durriyah finished with a total of 147 (74-73) with teenager Lau three shots further back on 150 (75-75).
“It was a decent round today. I had a good run on the back nine yesterday but I struggled a bit towards the end with my putting,” said the 22- year-old Pan. “At the end of the day, golf is all about getting the ball into the hole. My putting was still a little bit off today, but it’s definitely something that I will be working hard to improve on now that I have officially qualified!”
Malaysian juniors Winnie Ng and Natasha Oon finished fourth and eighth respectively to secure the two spots available in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia via the new Junior Amateur Category. There were a total of 24 participants in the field with 13 players from Malaysia and the rest made up of competitors from South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.
Ng finished with a respectable total of 151, just one stroke behind Lau. “It’s a total dream come true for me to be playing at a world-class
tournament alongside the world’s best players,” said Ng. “I actually just scored my first ever hole-in-one here last week, and to now be able to play in my first LPGA tournament here as well, is just a dream come true!”
The quintet will join Malaysian professionals Kelly Tan, Michelle Koh, and Ainil Bakar, who were awarded sponsor invitations to the tournament based on their world rankings. Together they will make up the largest local contingent in the tournament’s history to date.
Now into its seventh year of developing elite golfing talent in Malaysia, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Development Programme has come a long way since its inception, providing a pathway for young golfers to compete on the international stage. 2016 has been a landmark year, with Tan and Koh having earlier made history by becoming the first female Malaysian golfers to participate in the Olympic Games. Both players are beneficiaries of the programme.
For updates on the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2016, visit the tournament website at www.simedarbylpgamalaysia.com.