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Tseng looking forward to playing in Asia
October 10, 2012

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng has had her fair share of large galleries and giant followings throughout her career, but Tseng says it’s when she comes over to Asia that she receives an overwhelming welcome.

“I always look forward to playing in Asian tournaments because it's more of my hometown,” said Tseng. “I always have a few more fans in Asia. It's always fun to play in front of the crowd.”

Tseng said the Malaysian fans have embraced her and recalls major support through her final-round charge at last year’s event.

“I have good memories of here,” said Tseng. “I was in a fight to the end. I didn't play well the first couple of days, but I finished well in the end. I always wish for the next level, so I work hard at this tournament, and I played the course today and I still love it. I'm just going to out and have fun and have another challenge.”

Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis has grown comfortable with her star status due to her breakout year in 2012. The Woodlands, Texas native knows she’s no longer playing under the radar and took it as a compliment when local media named her the favorite to win this week.

“Well, it's nice to be ranked as one of the favorites, I guess, but you've also got a target on your back,” said Lewis. “I played really well this year and just been really consistent. I think that's been the best part for me. Coming off a win, I was glad to have a couple weeks off. But I feel really relaxed and ready to go for these next couple weeks in Asia.”

Lewis said she’s comfortable on the East Course at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club and hopes to improve on her T5 finish a year ago.

“I think it's really a ball-striker's course,” said Lewis. “If you look at the people that have won and have played well, they're people that are pretty high up on fairways and greens in regulation. So I think that's just the key to this golf course.”

Kuala Lumpur native and Symetra Tour professional Jean Chua will be competing in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia for the third-consecutive year and could not hide her excitement to be back in her hometown to compete. Chua is one of four Malaysian players in the field this week and is by far the most experienced. The second-pro said there is always the pressure of coming back and performing in front of the home crowd.

“Being one of the younger ones and representing Malaysia, you do definitely have a lot of pressure,” said Chua. “People expect you to perform well. But you've really got to try to just focus and play your own game. Just go out there and do what I've been doing all year. I should be fine, actually.”

Chua received a sponsor exemption and said she will build off a successful season she had on the LPGA’s developmental tour. She finished 15th on the season-ending money list and earned herself a spot in the final stage of LPGA Qualifying.

“This event is always the highlight,” said Chua. “Even though Symetra is my main career and takes me further, this is always the highlight because I get to come home, play in front of my family. It's my biggest event for the year, and it's a great honor to be able to play in front of my parents and have them watch what I do.”

Players are attempting to adjust to the elevated temperatures and humidity this week in Malaysia. Mid to high 90’s has been the norm with high humidity. Thunderstorms plagued both the morning and afternoon pro-am waves on Wednesday. Lewis said some extra preparations will be essential for getting through rounds.

“It's tough,” said Lewis. “I was in Florida last week, and it was pretty hot, so maybe that'll help me out a little bit. We usually go through a couple gloves a round. You sweat a ton, so it's really almost the night before I think you're drinking a lot of water all week. Just trying to really take care of yourself.”

Lewis recognizes the challenges Mother Nature bestows on the players, but says they are not the group that gets the worst of conditions.

“Our caddies I think have the harder job sometimes than we do, so it's just keeping your caddie in it, making sure he's drinking water, and hopefully he'll get through the week all right.”

“’Just remember,’ Lorena's brother always used to tell me, ‘whatever you do, just make sure you make a difference, and to see that in real life was a life experience.’” –Suzann Pettersen on her recent trip to Mozambique with the charity Right to Play.

SIME DARBY LPGA MALAYSIA
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