This year’s tournament was a fiercely fought affair.
(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) Camilo Menzes =The Sime Darby LPGA was launched in style on October 8, 2015, as players instead swapped their on-course gear for red carpet looks, where they mingled with guests, and tried dishes prepared by Head Chef Arnold of Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
The home group, known as the Malaysian Angels had n early swing of their clubs when a day earlier they participated in the Konica Minolta Chip-4 Charity. The mixture of youth and experience comprised of Kelly Tan, Michelle Koh, Nur Durriyah Damian, Cindy Lee-Pridgen and Ainil Bakar. The last set the early pace,landing four out of five shots on the floating green.
Much earlier the stars of the LPGA Tour provided media and guests with a preview of what visitors can expect when the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2015 gets under way at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC). The sixth edition of the tournament tees off from October 8- 11, promising 72 holes of fiercely fought competition along with four days of non-stop entertainment off it.
World no. 2 Lydia Ko of New Zealand, Paula Creamer, a.k.a. the ‘Pink Panther’ of the US, defending champion Shanshan Feng of China and Malaysia’s Kelly Tan spoke about their participation in the highly anticipated Asian Swing curtain raiser, and what a win would mean for them.
When she was asked about her chances, Ko said: “This tournament, it's a top field. It doesn't get much better than this. There's a lot of great things to look forward to, and personally I think I play better when I have fun and I've got a smile on my face. I just got to play some good golf out there and just have fun.”
Added Creamer: “Being here is a highlight. I think we all love to come to this event. It shows in the field. It shows in how this tournament has been growing, what we've been doing for women and just families and touching people's lives in a different way, through the game of golf, is pretty special.”
Malaysia’s big hope Kelly Tan was asked if this meant she had an additional burden to carry. The reply was, “I wouldn't say it's tougher, but, yes, there is going to be a lot of expectation from the home crowd. That's kind of the fact. Just got to deal with it and stay in the moment and play my own game.”
During the official pre-tournament photo call, fan favourite Michelle Wie got into the spirit of this year’s tournament with fellow American Cheyenne Woods – niece of the legendary Tiger – in the new Courtyard, spinning some tunes with the tournament’s resident DJ Patricia Knudsen.
Meanwhile fellow Americans Ryann O’Toole and Jaye-Marie Green sampled the culinary delights of Ken’s Food Truck – one of six food trucks that served a range of gastronomic treats at this year’s tournament as part of the KL Food Truck Festival’s golfing debut.
Continuing under the banner of Women with Drive, the 2015 edition of the tournament saw 75 of the very best golfers in the world, including nine out of the top 10, and 63 of the top 66 players according to the LPGA Money List, battle it out on the East Course, in the Sime Darby Foundation sponsored event, which continues its association with Cancer Research Malaysia.
In addition to the international cast, fans also had their own five Malaysian Angels to cheer on over the four days. Malaysia’s top three ranked players, Kelly Tan, Michelle Koh and Ainil Bakar returned to the East Course and were joined by local qualifier and tournament debutant Nur Durriyah Damian, who is also Malaysia’s top ranked amateur player, and veteran pro Cindy Lee-Pridgen.
Billed ‘the nation’s most fun golf event’, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2015 saw a host of new initiatives on and off the golf course. One such was making broadcasting history with Live@SimeDarbyLPGA Malaysia to a global audience of millions, in addition to its regular international telecast. The commentary team was led by expert golf commentator and TV anchor Peter Donegan.
Other goodies were a free food voucher that came with every ticket purchased, a Lucky Draw worth up to RM 500,000-, plus a host of other freebies, including golf umbrellas and Magnum ice creams, the tournament certainly lived up to expectations.
Getting back on the course, the two day tournament was close well played game, But in the end, it was Jessica Korda who took home the prize money of US300,000 closing six-under-par 65 in the final round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, played on Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club’s East Course. The tournament finally delivered the American her long-awaited win after more than a yearlong title drought.
The 22-year-old started her finale on 12-under-par and maintained her lead over the chasing pack, firing four birdies on the front nine and three on the back with a bogey on the par-4 11th to amass a four-day total of 18-under-par 266 (69-67-65-65) and receive the winner’s cheque.
“I knew that I was getting really close and just needed to stay patient. That's all my caddie was telling me. He was on me all week about staying patient [and] that the putts will fall. So it's just an incredible feeling,” expressed an elated Korda, who credited her caddie Kyle Bradley as her biggest support and critic on-course.
Coming in four shots back at 14-under-par, in a three-way tie for second, was the
daunting trio comprising World No.2 Lydia Ko (71-65-68-66), defending champion and World No. 7 Shanshan Feng (66-69-69-66) and World No.3 Stacy Lewis (72-66-65-67).
With the tournament over, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia maintained its reputation for producing a thrilling final day as Jessica Korda topped a tightly packed leader board at the end of round three at KLGCC.