The fifth edition of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia got under way in impressive style today, providing the Malaysian public with a sneak preview of what lies in wait when the tournament tees off for real at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) this Thursday.
Some of the world’s top players were on hand to help launch ‘Chip4Charity’. The new tournament initiative provides the public with an opportunity to try their hand at golf while raising valuable funds in the process for official charitable partner Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF).
World No. 3 Lydia Ko from New Zealand was joined by Sandra Gal from Germany, Hee Young Park from Republic of Korea and Malaysia’s Kelly Tan as they attempted to outdo one another while landing a golf ball from a raised chipping platform onto a floating green at the striking KLGCC. (Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking, 6 October 2014)
Asked at the official press conference to share her defining memories from last year, defending champion and World No. 8 Lexi Thompson said, “I think my favorite memory was just walking up to the 18th green and embracing all the fans. The fans were amazing last year. In between every hole they were always rooting me on. That just makes an athlete in general feel amazing.It was just a moment I’ll never forget.”
And speaking about her approach for the 2014 edition, Thompson added, “No different approach. I go into any event wanting to win, so same determination. Just take one shot at a time and do my routine and not get ahead of myself.”
Stacy Lewis added, “I’ve been playing some good golf all year. You know, it just comes down to making a few key putts in the final round. I didn’t quite do that [in Beijing] last week, but the game is where it needs to be. I love playing this golf course. It’s probably one of my favorites all year. Looking forward to a good week.”
Speaking about the Asian swing, the world no. 1 added, “It kind of rewards you for having a good year. It’s something that at the beginning of the year all the players are focusing on. They want to make sure they play well enough to get into these fields. So playing over here is basically a reward for a great year. I like coming here just because I love the golf course more than anything. That’s why I come.”
Looking back at her first year as a professional golfer, Lydia Ko said, “Yeah, a lot of things have happened. There has been a lot of exciting things being able to play on the LPGA. Been having lots of fun, learning a lot of things along the way. It’s my first time to Malaysia and I’ve been enjoying it. I’ve only been here the last two days, and hopefully I can look outside the golf course in the next couple days.”
A new addition to this year’s tournament are six home-grown talents who have been granted sponsor exemptions in recognition of their progress in the professional game. Dubbed the Malaysian Angels, Kelly Tan, Michelle Koh, Ainil Bakar, Michele Low, Jean Chua and Aretha Pan will give local fans plenty to cheer about over the four days of tournament.
Speaking on behalf of her compatriots about the challenge that lies ahead, Kelly Tan said, “We are very pleased and fortunate to be given sponsor exemptions to this prestigious event and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sime Darby for giving us Malaysian Angels the chance to compete against the best players in the world. I haven’t been home for six months so I’m very excited to be back again and able to play on home ground and spend more time with friends and family. I’m sure it will be a very exiting weekend in KLGCC.”
Speaking on behalf of tournament sponsor, GCOO of Sime Darby Berhad,YBhgDato’ Seri AbdWahabMaskan said, “This year we celebrate five fabulous years of bringing the world’s best players to Malaysia’s iconic golf course, Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club for the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia,together with a continued investment in the development of the game in this country. Our commitment has been extended to serve not only golf enthusiasts but also first time spectators who are seeking to enjoy beyond the game by participating in the various new entertaining and fun activities for the family.”
“It is with great pride that we welcome the players from the LPGA Tour back to Malaysia to compete for this highly coveted trophy. The players are fine ambassadors for the game and will continue to inspire future generations to fulfil their potential on the golf course and in life as the Women with Drive. We thank our partners at the LPGA Tour and wish the players every success in this year’s tournament.”
Jon Podany, Chief Marketing Officer of the LPGA Tour added, “It is great to be back in Kuala Lumpur. The welcome we receive every time we come here from the organisers, KLGCC and the Malaysian public is second to none. I would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to the tournament on reaching this important milestone. The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is now one of the leading tournaments on our schedule,which is demonstrated by the continued strength of the field. We can all look forward to another great event in 2014.”
Speaking on behalf of the tournament organiser, Robbie Henchman, Senior Vice President Asia-Pacific of IMG added, “The depth of talent at theSime Darby LPGA Malaysia once again provides the Malaysian public with a first class sporting spectacle to savour. We also welcome the addition of the sixMalaysian Angels to the 2014 edition of the tournament who will undoubtedly benefit significantly from the opportunity to compete against the best in the world while also providing the Malaysian public with local talent to support. I should like to extend a sincere thank you to Sime Darbytogether with all the tournament sponsors and partners for their support of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2014.”
Spectators at this year’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will enjoy first- class entertainment both on and off the fairways as KLGCC transforms itself into a festival destination for the duration of the tournament, complete with live music, street art, a showcase of Malaysian and international cuisine, health and beauty treatments, and activities for all ages to enjoy.
Highlights of Sime Darby LPGA festivities include Ladies Day (Friday), Pink Saturday and Family Day (Sunday), each with its own distinct character, designed to appeal to different members of the community. At the Poolside Fiesta spectators will be able to enjoy an eclectic mix of live music between 3pm and 6pm each day from a variety of leading local artists and DJ’s including Patricia K, Atilia, and Bihzhu, ensuring that the party continues well after the last ball drops at the end of each day’s play.
The fifth edition of the US$ 2 million purse Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will take place on the East course at KLGCC from 9-12 October 2014. 75 players, made up of 63 players from the LPGA tour, six Malaysian Nationals and a further six sponsor exemptions, including one place in the Asia Qualifying Tournament, will compete in the 72-hole stroke play, no cut tournament for one of the largest prize purses in Asia.