KUALA LUMPUR, 13 JULY 2017 – One of Malaysia’s most prestigious sporting events, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, is set to return to the capital later this year when the eighth edition of the tournament tees off from 26 – 29 October 2017.
TPC Kuala Lumpur will once again host the four-day festival, which has built a reputation for the entertainment that takes place off-course, as much as the action on it – a fact well recognised by organisers, as they prepare for this year’s event.
Sime Darby Foundation (SDF) Chairman Tun Musa Hitam said the 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 8th season 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,” he said.
“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 Sime Darby LPGA 2017 Tournament Committee Chairman Steven Thielke said this year, the committee will be teaming up with a number of new partners to up the ante on the entertainment featured at the tournament.
“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,” he said.
“Building on the core components of golf, food and music, we’ll be looking to introduce a real party atmosphere after play each day and will be working with a number of new partners to achieve that. Along with live bands and Chef Arnold’s kitchen creations, we will be looking to raise the tempo after play with good food and entertainment.”
Mr Thielke said the committee will be redesigning the Courtyard Marquee, which will enable visitors to get closer to the players on the putting green and there will be lots of interactive experiences, some serious bargains for shoppers as well as a revamped Kids Zone.
“The idea is to ensure that irrespective of whether you’re a golfer, foodie, music lover or just a group of friends looking for a great day out, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is the only place to be over the last weekend in October,” he added.
Defending Champion confirms title defence
Meanwhile the tournament’s first two-time champion, China’s Feng Shanshan has confirmed her title defence as she looks to make it three victories in four years.
Feng, currently at the sixth spot of the Women’s World Golf Rankings, said the Sime Darby LPGA is undeniably one of the best tournaments for female golfers to compete in all year.
“It’s brilliant that the Sime Darby LPGA is back in 2017! We’re all delighted that it’s back on the schedule,” she said. “We’re looked after really well, the fans are great and there’s always just so much going on. And yes, I have to mention the food, but it’s great!”
Feng has had a strong performance since August 2016, when she won the Bronze medal in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. She recently clinched the championship trophy at the LPGA Volvik Championship in May.
“I’m happy with where my game is at right now and hope that I can produce some more good results when we head over to Asia later in the year,” she added.
Quick to confirm their participation in this year’s tournament are former world no.1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Canada’s Brooke Henderson. Ko relinquished the no.1 spot she had held for 84 weeks to Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn last month but will be looking forward to the Asia swing. Said Ko:
“I always love getting back to Asia at the end of the year and playing the tournaments over there – and the Sime Darby event has to be one of the best. It’s a lot of fun, played on a really good course and everybody’s just really appreciative of the whole event. I came pretty close in 2015 when Jessica won, but will just get out there and give it my best shot and see what I can do.”
The 19-year old Henderson stormed onto the international golf scene in 2015 with a win at the Portland Classic which she has backed up with three further wins, including a first major in 2016. Said Henderson:
"I really enjoyed my first time playing the Sime Darby LPGA last year in Malaysia. The event was first-class and the fans were so supportive! I look forward to using my experience from the golf course last year to contend for the championship this October!"
With the LPGA Tour showing some intense competition so far this year, all three players will have their work cut out on the East Course. Korean So Yeon Ryu claimed the world number one spot from Jutanugarn after just two weeks and with Lexi Thompson back on top form and Danielle Kang claiming a first major, golf fans are in for a feast when the stars of the LPGA Tour descend on the capital.