World No. 1 Park Inbee of Korea will return to Kuala Lumpur this October to defend her title in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC).
Park, whose superb form in the first half of the year saw her winning no less than six tournaments including three Majors, noted in a webcast that her victory at KLGCC’s East Course last year proved a pivotal point in her career.
“Looking back, last year’s victory was a real turning point on the road to World No. 1 – it was the first time I’d won two tournaments in one year and gave me renewed confidence in my game going into 2013. I’m looking forward to returning to Malaysia, competing against the best in our field with some of the most welcoming and supportive fans we see in all our tournaments around the world,” said Park, whose win in the US Women’s Open made her only the second player in LPGA history to win the first three Majors of the season.
This year’s tournament takes place October 10-13 and will see an increase in the total purse to US$2 million from US$1.9 million in 2012. The field for the 72-hole, no-cut event remains the same with 72 players, comprising the top 62 available players from the LPGA Tour and 10 sponsor’s invites.
Sime Darby Berhad gave the tournament a further boost by confirming a three-year extension to their title sponsorship, locking up the tournament until 2016.
Sime Darby Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam said: “We are once again delighted to play a pivotal role in one of the region’s leading golf tournaments, the 2013 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Now into our fourth year as title sponsor, we are pleased to offer golf fans in Malaysia a treat of the world’s best in women’s golf competing here in the heart of Malaysia.
“Our support of the 2013 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia goes hand in hand with our continued contribution to the development of sports in Malaysia,” added Tun Musa.
An integral feature of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is its support for the Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF), the official charity for the tournament. Funds from the tournament will once again be donated to CARIF and a number of initiatives involving players and fans will be organised before and during the tournament. These include Pink Saturday during the third round when players, officials and fans are encouraged to dress in pink as a show of support for the fight against breast cancer.
LPGA commissioner Michael Whan spoke highly of the Malaysian event, saying: “Last year’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia was a fantastic showcase of the world’s top players in a region that continues to grow exponentially in its appreciation and support for women’s golf. With its world-class course, excellent facilities and welcoming supporters, our players are looking forward to getting back to Malaysia and putting on another great battle for the trophy in 2013.”
Grant Slack, the senior vice president of promoter IMG Golf, said: “With Sime Darby’s continuing support, we’re returning to Malaysia with ever-growing confidence in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia’s ability to bring out players and fans alike, for four days of thrilling, highly competitive golf. The women’s game is at its most exciting yet, with a number of players vying for the top spot in the World Rankings and ensuring that every tournament could be anyone’s to win. The confirmation of Inbee Park’s return as both defending champion and World No. 1 is just the beginning and we look forward to welcoming fans back to the KLGCC this October.”
Tickets will be on sale from 10 July onwards at www.ticketpro.com.my and Ticketpro outlets (Ticketpro hotline: +603 7880 7999). For more information, go to www.simedarbylpgamalaysia.com.