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LPGA in Kuala Lumpur this week for Sime Darby
October 07, 2014

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Lydia Ko
Rolex Rankings No. 8 Lexi Thompson
Rolex Rankings No. 22 Jessica Korda
Rolex Rankings No. 241 Kelly Tan

The LPGA returns to Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club Berhad for the fifth edition of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia with Lexi Thompson set to defend in the tournament she got her second career victory a year ago. Thompson shot four rounds in the 60’s and held off Shanshan Feng in the final round for a four-shot victory. She went on to win her third title - and first major - at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in the early part of 2014 but is back in Malaysia, hoping to make it the second-consecutive season with two victories.

“I go into any event wanting to win, so same determination.” Thompson said of her approach this week. “Just take one shot at a time. I have a lot of great memories here from last year, but, yeah, focus on one shot at a time and do my routine and not get ahead of myself.”

It’s set to be an incredibly strong field with eight of the top 10 in the Rolex World Rankings in the field this week, highlighted by World No. 1 Stacy Lewis. Of the top 10, only Michelle Wie, who is out with injury, and Inbee Park who is in final preparation mode for her wedding next Monday in Korea, are missing from the field.

“From the players’ side, the smaller field, it kind of rewards you for having a good year.” Stacy Lewis said during a press conference today. “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 think it’s a great thing that we have it. I like coming here just because I love the golf course more than anything.”

Rookies taking charge: After Lydia Ko won her second tournament of the year at the the Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I in mid-July, it seemed inconceivable to think that she might be in for a battle for most wins in 2014 by a rookie. However, that’s exactly what she’s got now after Mirim Lee won the Reignwood LPGA Classic by two shots Sunday in Beijing. Lee won the Meijer LPGA Classic Presented by Kraft the week after Ko won in Toledo and used a final-round 4-under 69, including birdies on two of her last three holes, to edge out Caroline Hedwall for her second victory of the year last week at the Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing.

Both Ko and Lee - No. 3 and No. 19 in the Rolex Rankings respectively - are in the field this week looking for their
third victory of the season.

The performances by both these outstanding rookies makes it appear they are much more experienced than they actually are. Lydia Ko admits she still has a lot to learn.

“It’s been fun and it’s been a really interesting rookie year.” Ko said of her first year on Tour. “I’ve been learning lots on the tour. Having other great players like Stacy Lewi for me to look up to and learning not only about golf but how she does things outside the golf course, there is a lot of things for me to learn right now.”

Chip for charity: Chip4Charity gives spectators at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia the opportunity to test their golfing skills against the pros. All proceeds from Chip4Charity will be donated to the tournament’s official charitable partner Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF).

Chip4Charity was launched in dramatic style on Tuesday as World No.3 from New Zealand Lydia Ko, Hee Young Park, Sandra Gal and Malaysia’s Kelly Tan all showed their competitive sides as they attempted to outdo one another in the competition staged in the beautiful surroundings of KLGCC.

The race for $1 million: The Race for the CME Globe and its $1 million prize is heating up. Players now have six weeks remaining to improve their position in the season-long points competition before the point reset. Stacy Lewis has a 1,222 point lead over Inbee Park, who is not in the field this week due to wedding preparations.

After the reset, the players in the top-3 positions on the Race to the CME Globe Points Standings will be able to win the Race to the CME Globe with a win at the Tour Championship; and the players in the top-9 positions will have a mathematical chance to win the race.

“There’s not much you can do.” Suzann Pettersen responded when asked if being in the top 9 is something that will weigh on her mind over the final part of the season.

“It’s out of your control.” Pettersen added. “Usually when I go to Asia I’ve been very successful here in the past. So just make the most of the trip. Playing the next three, so I’m ready to go. I’m rested and I look forward to this final part of the season.“

After the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex in Mexico, LPGA Members who meet the entry criteria for the CME Group Tour Championship will be seeded based on their position on the Race to the CME Globe Points
Standings. Points for each Member will then be reset for the CME Group Tour Championship based on the points reset table listed on

The reset will ensure that the race will be won at the season-ending tournament. For more information on point distribution, the reset or entry criteria, please visit Below are the current top-10 standings in the Race to the CME Globe prior to the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia:

Stacy Lewis
Inbee Park
Lydia Ko
Michelle Wie
Anna Nordqvist
So Yeon Ryu
Karrie Webb
Lexi Thompson
Azahara Munoz
Cristie Kerr*
* Not in the field this week

Republic of Korea dominating: Players from the Republic of Korea have dominated LPGA events lately, winning six of the last seven tournaments. Mirim Lee has bookended the wins, having won at the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft in August and again this week. Austin Ernst (Portland Classic presented by Cambia Health Solutions) is the one player not from the Republic of Korea to win in that span.

The winners between Mirim Lee are as follows. Inbee Park (Wegmans LPGA Championship), So Yeon Ryu (Canadian Pacific Women’s Open), Hyo Joo Kim (The Evian Championship), M.J. Hur (Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic).

The United States still leads all other countries in wins on Tour this season, with winners in 12 tournaments to the Republic of Korea’s eight. Eight different Americans have won on Tour in 2014, compared to five from the Republic of
Korea. No other country has more than one different winner. Stacy Lewis leads the tour with 16 top-10 finishes, while Inbee Park ranks second with 14.

Together, the United States and Republic of Korea have accounted for 19 of the 25 wins on Tour this season, creating quite the back and forth.

Inbee's wedding: Inbee Park is back in Korea busily preparing for her wedding next week prior to the LPGA KEB · HanaBank Championship. The competitive nature the world No. 2 brings each week to a tournament will be missed by other players this week, but players are excited for her wedding and very happy for this big moment in her life.

“I want to play against the best players in the world every single week.” Stacy Lewis said of Inbee’s absence. “I’m kind of disappointed she’s not here. I am happy she’s getting married and just glad the timing worked out that everyone was over here so they could go.”

Via Twitter this afternoon, Inbee shared one of the pre-wedding images she took with her fiancée and wedding party two weeks ago in Korea.

Quote of the day: “Just say it. You want to be No. 1 in the world. Say it. Come on. Come on.”

-Stacy Lewis jokingly putting words in Lydia Ko’s mouth during the press conference today after Ko was asked if she was happy with her current world ranking.

Social scene: Suzann Pettersen held a clinic with some lucky and very excited MST Junior Golf
Academy golfers at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club Berhad. The World No. 4
player worked on chipping and putting with the group of 9-10 year old kids. While
posing for a picture Pettersen said with a smile “I’m standing here with the future LPGA and PGA golfers!”

“Had some fun with @nikegolf today in Kuala Lumpur. A little clinic with the kids! @nikegolf #vapor #malaysia #growthegame”

-Suzann Pettersen via Instagram (@suzannpettersen)

October 08, 2014

The LPGA kicked off the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia with a celebrity pro-am today at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club Berhad. Many of the top names in the
Malaysian entertainment industry were on hand to play with the LPGA pros, but none more important than Her Majesty, The Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tuanku Hajah Haminah Hamidun, The Queen of Malaysia.

Her Majesty the Queen, played alongside the No. 1 player in the world Stacy Lewis in the morning pro-am. Lewis came away impressed with the overall state of the Queen’s golf game.

“She was a lot of fun to play with.” Lewis said. “She is a good player, who loves playing the game and has an 18 handicap. She was even making a few bets on the side so we had a great time playing together.”

Rookie race: The race for No. 1 has been closely followed this year but there is another race shaping up and worth following. In the beginning of the year, 17-year old Lydia Ko appeared to be an almost certain winner of the award, with two wins and a 682 point lead over Mirim Lee after her win at the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I.

Since then, 23-year old Mirim Lee has managed to close the gap with two wins at the Meijer LPGA Classic
presented by Kraft and the Reignwood LPGA Classic last week. There is now a 556 point difference between the two players - Ko has 1306 points and Lee has 750 - with seven tournaments remaining in the year.

“I’m not sure if I am giving her a run for her money yet but I get a lot of questions about it from friends and family.” Lee said. “But I didn’t come to this Tour with that as my objective. I wanted to become a better player and I am just continuing towards that goal. Of course I want to win the Rookie of the Year, but that’s not really my focus today. I will continue to work towards my goal and see if Rookie of the Year is a part of that.”

Lee and Ko have only been paired together once, at the JTBC Founders Cup and Lee came away impressed.

“She’s really good for as young as she is, and I am really impressed.” Lee said. “What’s interesting is that she reminds me a lot of Jiyai Shin because she’s pretty much good in every aspect of the game.”

In the end, it may be more likely that they battle it our for most rookie wins. But it sure will be a fun battle to watch play out.

Malaysian Angels: LPGA golfer Kelly Tan is playing in her home country of Malaysia this week. The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is excited to have Tan, and five other Malaysian players, including Symetra Tour player Jean Chau representing the country this week.

Kelly Tan realizes there are expectations for her to play well but she is excited for the opportunity.

“Well you know when you play at home there will be a lot of expectation and pressure but that’s part of the game but I’ll just do my best and see what happens.” Tan said.

The group of players are affectionately called the “Malaysian Angels” and realize they play an important role in the development of golf in their country.

“We weren’t the one to exactly come up with the name. Paul Gibbons, the executive director of MST Golf came up with the name.” Chau said. “It’s in conjunction with ‘Charlie’s Angels’ that’s what I am told.”

“It’s something to get Malaysian golf going over here.” Chau added. “It’s young, it’s growing and we have the six pros right now and we need more of the junior golfers to follow and have something they can relate to. Kind of like the movie. I guess it’s a fun theme.”

Who will be No.1: The battle for No. 1 continues this week at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. One player has a chance to unseat Stacy Lewis at No. 1 and that's 17-year old Lydia Ko. The No. 3 player in the Rolex Rankings can take the top spot with a win in Kuala Lumpur and Stacy Lewis finishes T12 or worse. No. 2 Inbee Park is not in the field this week due to wedding preparations back in her home country of Korea.

“Just say it. You want to be No. 1 in the world. Say it. Come on. Come on.” Stacy Lewis jokingly putting words in Lydia Ko’s mouth during the press conference today after Ko was asked if she was happy with her current world ranking.

Social scene: Sultanah Haminah Hamidun, the Queen of Malaysia, is a big fan of the LPGA and came out to the course today to support the event. Defending champion Lexi Thompson was able to meet with her and pose for a photo after the Queen played in the pro-am with Stacy Lewis.

“Great to see the Queen again here in Malaysia what a wonderful woman she is!

-Lexi Thompson via Instagram (@lexi)

Take 6: There are 16 players who will play all six tournaments during the 2014 Asian leg of the LPGA Tour. The players are as follows. Chella Choi, Sandra Gal, Eun Hee Ji, Moriya Jutanugarn, Danielle Kang, Haeji Kang, Christina Kim, Ilhee Lee, Mirim Lee, Amelia Lewis, Belen Mozo, Hee Young Park, Beatriz Recari, Sarah Jane Smith, Line Vedel and Amy Yang.


JON PODANY: Thank you, Dato Seri. I love to hear that you want to continue for a long time, because we certainly do as well at the LPGA.

We want to congratulate Sime Darby and IMG and all the organizers and partners involved in this event on our fifth year together.

We really do appreciate and value long-term relationships. To now have our fifth year here and hopefully many more years to come, we're really looking forward to that.

This is truly one of our more anticipated events of year, not only among or Asian swing, but for the whole schedule throughout the year.

We really get treated well here on and off the course. Steven, I want to congratulate you on such a tremendous facility and the condition of the golf course and the whole setup here at KLGCC.

Players love coming here. I don't think you need to look any further than the field to see that that is true. I think we have 37 of the top 40 players in the world here this week, and 8 of the top 10. Only ones that aren't here are injured or getting married next week.

So a lot of good things going on, and we really do appreciate everything Sime Darby and KLGCC do for the LPGA.

We're a global tour. You may not know this, but we have eight different countries represented in the top thirteen players in the world. So we truly are a global tour.

We recognize the importance of the development of golf in this region, particular women's golf. So that's another area that this event has had a tremendous impact. Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Development Program has had a tremendous impact, and we certainly wish well the six Malaysian angels this year.

We don't need to look any further than Kelly down the row here to know what kind of impact that program has had as well.

On behalf of the LPGA and our players, again, just want to thank all of you for coming. Thank you Sime Darby Foundation and KLGCC for putting on such a tremendous event and really treating our players first class. Thank you.


MODERATOR: Before we talk about this year, what was the lasting memories of winning last year's tournament.

LEXI THOMPSON: 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.

Yeah, walking up to the 18th green and making the four or five-footer for par on the last hole and waving to the fans and walking off the green and hugging my dad. It was just a moment I'll never forget.

MODERATOR: What's your approach for this week? What's going to be different for you?

LEXI THOMPSON: No different approach. I go into any event wanting to win, so same determination. Just take one shot at a time. I have a lot of great memories here from last year, but, yeah, focus on one shot at a time and do my routine and not get ahead of myself.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

Lydia Ko, this is the time last year when you turned pro. What are your first impressions like, and what is your plan for the week?

LYDIA KO: Yeah, a lot of things have been from then to now. 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.

Yeah, it's great. It's my first time to Malaysia.

MODERATOR: Ooooh, welcome to Malaysia.

LYDIA KO: Yeah, I've been having fun. 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.

MODERATOR: I'm sure someone will want to take you around.

LYDIA KO: Maybe some shopping and looking around. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the week.

MODERATOR: All the best.

Steven, this is the tournament's fifth anniversary. Doesn't look like any normal golf tournament, so tell us what's actually going on here.

STEVEN THIELKE: This year our intentions are we are trying to -- not trying, we will be opening the tournament to a wider audience. The Sime Darby LPGA has worked so well between the ropes. We have got a fantastic field.

This year we are trying to attract a different crowd. Trying to get those young families, young potential golfers in the future to come out and watch the LPGA. So we introduced a whole bunch new initiatives, including integrating all five of our restaurants into the tournament in year.

Around the pool we'll have five gazebos with different Malaysian foods there to try out. Maybe that's where Lydia can try out some of Malaysian foods.

There will be some DJing and music. Don't worry, it will only be after 3:00 after the last putt drops.

So perhaps one or two of the players want to go and try their DJing skills. We have some celebrities and famous Malaysian DJs. There is a lot of fun and action.

There is a Chip4Charity where some players will join us afterwards at the Chip4Charity. Just a fun initiative to raise some funds. All kinds of new initiatives to try to attract a different crowd and introduce some new people in Malaysia to the game of golf.

MODERATOR: Great stuff. Tournament Festival as they call it, right?


MODERATOR: Stacy, No. 1 in the world; you've won in Asia before. Great week in Beijing last week. What's the plan for this week?

STACY LEWIS: To do it again. You know, 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 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.

MODERATOR: Fantastic. Thank you very much, Stacy.

Jessica Korda, you also had a fantastic win in the Bahamas. How does it feel like to be back in Malaysia?

JESSICA KORDA: This is my second year back, and I think every year it gets better and better. The golf course is in amazing shape, and I'm excited to get the week started here.

MODERATOR: Fantastic. Well, good luck.

And last but not least, our Malaysian Angel, Kelly Tan. Welcome back. How are you feeling?

KELLY TAN: It's always good to be home. I was away from home for six months, and that was pretty tough for me. I did pretty good this year, and just very happy to be back.

MODERATOR: Okay. Well, good luck. I would like to open it up for some questions to the floor. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Q. This is the fifth year; one more year contract. It's very good to know you're keen about keeping LPGA here. Is this going to be a resigned contract?

DATO SERI: I didn't say that. Number one is LPGA Malaysia, that is principal, what do you call, point that I raise. Because over the last four years, now fifth year, we have, Sime Darby, has played our part to ensure that LPGA and Malaysia entity (indiscernible) believe in sport and have been developing the positioning of LPGA in Malaysia to that level.

That level means it's (indiscernible) competition, and as has been highlighted earlier, many of the players like to come back. There are a lot of unique memories here. As mentioned by Steve, we have got something that is different.

Now, because it is Malaysian, what do you call, LPGA Malaysia positioning has been strongly supported by the LPGA and the players, and therefore the event should be in Malaysia and in KLGCC for a very long time.

That is our wish, but this is not a platform nor me to say yes or no. We only review things one year at a time. We have that kind of gentlemen understanding.

I think seriously, more importantly, it doesn't matter who sponsor the event. (Indiscernible.)

Here is where, as I mentioned earlier, because it is a position to that level, therefore I believe a lot more big names of Malaysia is prepared to chip in.

And probably the purse (indiscernible). I don't know. We can guess only. But that's my point. Okay?

Q. Congratulations for all those involved. This is a fantastic tournament. Question for the players, all of you. Obviously you come for the prize money and so forth. What is it about Malaysia that puts it on top of the list of tournaments you would like to play at? Is there an opportunity in the future of expanding the field? If you expanded it to 156, what effect does that have on any sponsorship money?

JON PODANY: Well, right now we're not necessarily looking to expand beyond what we are. We try to keep all the Asian events in about the same range in terms of number of players. We have chosen to go down the path of having those be no-cut events so players aren't traveling from all over the world and only potentially playing two days at a tournament.

So we trying to maintain some consistency between the Reignwood LPGA Classic in China last week and Hana Bank next week in Korea. We play now six tournaments in Asia in the fall. I think for the foreseeable future you'll see continued consistency in the size of the field.

STACY LEWIS: I'll just say from the players' side, the smaller field, 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 think it's a great thing that we have it. I like coming here just because I love the golf course more than anything. That's why I come. It works out well in the schedule just as far as -- you know, I don't like being away from home for too many weeks at a time.

For me, it's in the beginning of this kind of swing of tournaments so it works out well in the schedule. Most importantly, I like the golf course.

STEVEN THIELKE: (Indiscernible) besides that, the LPGA Sime Darby inside the ropes we all know works well. No problems here. To fiddle with it and change it would be probably not on top of our list right now.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

Q. Lexi, you won by a significant margin last year. Is there a game plan, under-par total, you're looking for going into the tournament?

LEXI THOMPSON: I don't even remember what I shot last year. I don't have a specific score in mind. Like I said earlier, golf is such a challenging sport. You have to stay in the moment and focus on doing your routine on every shot.

I am going to go out and do my best and see what happens.

Q. So anyone who wants to answer, obviously you'll be very happy for Inbee this week. Is there a competitive side of you guys that is like, Ah, this is a little bit better for us this week?

STACY LEWIS: She doesn't even know she's not here.

LEXI THOMPSON: I didn't even know that.

STACY LEWIS: I don't think we look at that. I want to play against the best players in the world every single week. I'm kind of disappointed she's not here.

I am happy she's getting married and just glad the timing worked out that everyone was over here so they could go.

Q. Stacy, after Beijing last week where you were leading for much of the tournament, how are you coming into the tournament? With confidence or a little bit upset about the way it went?

STACY LEWIS: I feel good. I feel good with where my game is. I really just didn't putt well. Mirim, she made everything she looked at on Sunday. I just got the feeling it was meant to be pretty early on for her.

I like where my game is at. I'll just keep working on a few things for the next few days, but things are good.

Q. One final question for Lydia. Obviously you've had an amazing year. Would you be happy ending the season with your current world ranking, or still looking to go one further?

LYDIA KO: I'm just going to play a day and a tournament at a time. Golf is not something just all about me. There are always other players playing well.

STACY LEWIS: Just say it. You want to be No. 1 in the world. Say it. Come on. Come on.

LYDIA KO: No, all the players, they're playing at their best. We're all going out there and trying to win. I mean, everybody has got the same goal. I'm just going to go out there and just try my best, and if it goes my way, great.

But it's been fun and it's been a really interesting rookie year. I've been learning lots on the tour. Having other great players like Stacy for me to look up to and learning not only about golf but how she does things outside the golf course, there is a lot of things for me to learn right now.

MODERATOR: Thank you. One last question.

Q. Kelly, this is your rookie year. How has it been playing on tour? You've been doing pretty well, too.

KELLY TAN: Yeah, I didn't start the season as good as I wanted. It was a little struggle for me early in the year to get used to the tour and traveling and managing my travel and schedule.

You know, I'm starting to play better towards the end of the year and trying to get used to it.


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