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Stars set to shine at TPC Kuala Lumpur

(L-R) LPGA commissioner Mike Whan, Natasha Oon, Kelly Tan, Shanshan Feng, Sime Darby Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam, So Yeon Ryu, Anna Nordqvist and TPC KL CEO Steven Thielke

The world’s top women golfers are back in town for the eighth edition of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, which tees off on Thursday at TPC Kuala Lumpur’s East Course.

China’s World No 6 Shanshan Feng will seek to defend her title in the US$1.8 million event, which includes no less than 18 out of the world’s top 20 players and 44 out of the top 50 on the 2017 LPGA money list.

“Coming back here reminds me of a lot of good memories, and I really like coming back to Malaysia. I love the food. I love the course. Of course, the weather, too, I don’t mind. I play well here every year, so I love it,” said Feng, who won the title last year and in 2014 at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

“There are a lot of people speaking Chinese here so I feel like I’m at home, and a lot of people actually are supporting me.  I feel very comfortable coming back, and of course, this year, I’m coming back to pick up my membership card,” she joked.

78 players representing 22 different nations will vie for title honours and a share of the US$ 1.8 million purse in the tournament, frequently referred to as Malaysia’s most fun golf event.

World No 1 So Yeon Ryu of Korea also voiced her affection for the tournament. The 27-year-old has enjoyed a phenomenal year on tour, claiming 12 top-10 finishes including two wins, and and has held the top spot in the world rankings for the last 18 weeks.

“I love this tournament. I have so many reasons why I love this tournament. First of all, we have the wonderful hospitality and we play a really nice golf course and we support cancer research here,” she said.

“Also, it’s really great to see this tournament always supporting their local girls really well. I remember when I first met Natasha, I met her at the par 3, during the Pro-Am, and she was being supported in junior golf and now she’s going to play in this tournament and I’m going to play with her. This is really, really special.”

Defending champion Shanshan Feng returns to the course that has seen her finish in either the top or runner-up spot for the last four years. The world no. 6 from China, who will be looking to make it three wins in four years, said:

Another player who enjoyed a stellar run of form in 2017 is world no. 5 Anna Nordqvist. Two wins, including a second Major at the Evian Championship, and a further three top-10 finishes have seen the Swede climb up the rankings to her current position.

“TPC Kuala Lumpur is such an amazing golf course. It’s getting better and better every year; you thought it was in perfect condition and you show up and it looks even better, more flowers. It’s just such a great atmosphere. “We get treated so well, plus the good food in Malaysia. All the players obviously enjoy the shopping.” she said.

Leading the charge among the eight Malaysian nationals in this year’s field is the country’s top player Kelly Tan. The 23-year-old has endured a difficult year on tour in 2017 but will be hoping that, with home advantage, she will be able to rediscover the kind of form she knows she is capable of.

“I’ve been playing pretty good the past couple of events. The results just haven’t really showed. I’m going to take this week as building up my confidence. Feeling pretty good with my past couple days of practice here. I haven’t seen the course all year this year, and seeing it on Monday, the course is fantastic. Like the girls say, the course is always in great shape but every year it just gets better. I’m excited to play,” said Tan.

Tan will be joined by the winner of the national qualifying tournament, sixteen-year-old Natasha Andrea Oon. Qualifying for the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia for the second time, the teenager is a prodigious talent for the future and will be one to watch on course this week.

For tickets, which come with a goody bag including bottles of Gatorade and Sam Da Soo water, a La Cremeria ice cream, a pair of Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Pink Sunglasses, a RSH voucher and a RM10 Food Voucher, visit the tournament website at www.simedarbylpgamalaysia.com


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