Durriyah, Lee-Pridgen earn LPGA starts

Cindy Lee-Pridgen, Aditi Ashok and Nur Durriyah Damian ©Khalid Redza|IMG
Cindy Lee-Pridgen, Aditi Ashok and Nur Durriyah Damian ©Khalid Redza|IMG

KUALA LUMPUR: National amateur Nur Durriyah Damian secured a dream debut at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia after finishing as one of the two-best placed Malaysian in the Qualifying Tournament, which concluded on Wednesday.

Durriyah recorded a three-over 74 in the second and final round to total two-over 144 at the East Course of Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

She finished a stroke clear of seasoned campaigner Cindy Lee Pridgen, who once again usurped her more younger compatriots with a round of 74 to clinch her third appearance at the prestigious US$2 million showpiece.

The qualifier was won by India’s Aditi Ashok (71), who parred the finishing hole to edge overnight leader and 2014 qualifier Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul of Thailand.

Ashok, who finished on one-under 141, will become the first Indian player to compete in the prestigious Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, in what will be her maiden LPGA start.

The 17-year-old Bangalore native said: “I played really good over the last two days. I drained a few more putts today and I’m really pleased to win to the qualifier. Yesterday, I missed a lot of birdie putts and I knew that if I created the same number of opportunities today and convert them, it would give me a shot at winning and it did!”

Speaking about her own debut at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, twenty-year-old Durriyah from Kuala Lumpur added, “I didn’t do as well as I expected today but had put together two good rounds and I’m so excited to play in my first LPGA event this year.”

Mother-of-two Lee-Pridgen returns to the tournament she last played in 2013 but feels she is much better prepared.

“This year, I actually practised for this tournament and it obviously came in handy, so I’m happy to be back for another shot. I played pretty well yesterday but my putting was a bit off. Today, was still a little bit off but I managed to keept it together,” said the 39-year-old, who is based in Abu Dhabi.

“I’ve been hitting the gym since January with a goal to improve my stamina, which is important if you want to be competitive over four rounds. I will work to sharpen my chipping and putting in the coming weeks,” added Lee-Pridgen.

Durriyah and Lee-Pridgen will join compatriots Kelly Tan, Michelle Koh and Ainil Bakar who were all awarded sponsor invites on the strength of their official ranking positions, making the Malaysian Angels a formidable quintet at this year’s event.

Leading final results (Par-71) >
Malaysian unless stated
141 – Aditi Ashok (a – IND) 70-71
142 – Kanphanitan Muangkhumsakul (THA) 69-73
144 – Nur Durriyah Damian (a) 70-74
145 – Cindy Lee-Pridgen 71-74
146 – Goh Jen (a – SIN) 76-70
148 – Jean Chua 72-76, Lee Jin Kyung (a – KOR) 76-72
149 – Aretha Pan Herng 75-74
150 – Princess Mary Superal 77-73
151 – Warda Amira Abdul Rawof (a) 76-75, Kim Hae Min 76-75, Dianne Luke Jia Zhen 73-78
152 – Natasha Andrea Oon (a) 77-75
153 – Michelle Low 74-79
156 – Amanda Tan (a – SIN) 74-82, Kelie Kan Kah Yan (a) 79-77
157 – Qistina Balqis Azhar (a) 80-77
159 – Winnie Ng Yu Xuan (a) 80-79
160 – Hillferah Tan (a) 80-80
161 – Mikhaela Fortuna (a – PHI) 77-85, Sofia Chabon (a – PHI) 82-79
165 – Kuriko Tsukiyama (JPN) 75-90, Shareen Rena Lai 89-76
166 – Han Byeol (KOR) 78-88