KUALA LUMPUR: The leading lights of women’s golf are set to return to Malaysian shores this October after Sime Darby Foundation extended its commitment to the eighth staging of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
Reigning champion Feng Shanshan can expect a stern title defence as the Chinese world number six looks to make it three victories in four years at the award-winning East Course of TPC Kuala Lumpur.
Also throwing their hats into the ring are 14-time LPGA Tour winner Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Canadian Major-winning sensation Brooke Henderson – their quick confirmations underlining the event’s huge popularity within the LPGA circle.
A Qualifying Tournament, slated for September 19-20 will provide a pathway for four Malaysian nationals to secure berths in the prestigious tournament, with a further place available for a regional winner.
Two junior amateurs – selected based on performance over a series of qualifying events in Malaysia – will also feature in the final 78-player field.
Sime Darby Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam said the US$1.8 million tournament serves as an important catalyst for women’s development in golf in Malaysia and a crucial platform to raise awareness of the research conducted by Cancer Research Malaysia.
“The Sime Darby LPGA is back for its eighth staging to serve as a platform for Malaysia’s best young female talent to compete in a world class event, providing them the much needed exposure.
“I am also proud to see that the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Development Programme is being revamped with various improvements to create a higher impact for our young talented female golfers,” said Musa.
“I am pleased to see that the tournament has helped the non-profit cancer research organisation in Malaysia, Cancer Research Malaysia, in raising up to RM2.5 million for cancer research. Raising this much money not only supports the research but also goes towards raising awareness about cancer in Malaysia,” he added.
TPC Kuala Lumpur chief executive officer and tournament organising chair Steven Thielke promised that the four-day golfing festival will once again raise the rafters with an exciting line-up of sideline activities and entertainment.
“Over the years we have made a concerted effort to create a unique identity for the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia that differentiates it from any other golf tournament, not just in Malaysia, but throughout the region. We know we have a great golf tournament out on course, but it’s what happens off-course that really makes this event special and we want to take that to a new level in 2017,” said Thielke.