News Release

First homegrown talent announced for Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia in October

Top ranked ‘Malaysian Angels’ awarded sponsor exemptions at showpiece event as duo prepare for Olympic debut

KUALA LUMPUR, 3 August 2016 – Malaysia’s top three ranked players, Kelly Tan, Michelle Koh and Ainil Bakar, have been awarded qualifying exemptions to this year’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) from 27 – 30 October.

The coveted places were awarded to the three ‘Malaysian Angels’ in acknowledgement of their continued progress as professional golfers and will see them spearheading the local challenge against a star-studded LPGA field, set to include defending champion Jessica Korda. All three players are graduates of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Development Programme.

Malaysia’s top ranked player and LPGA Tour regular, Kelly Tan, is currently ranked 159 in the world rankings* and 73 on the LPGA Money List. Such has been her progress on Tour, she may gain automatic qualification for the tournament and not be dependent on the exemption place. The 22-year old from Johor will be looking to build on her result at last year’s tournament, where she finished in 61st spot.

Michelle Koh can also expect a hero’s welcome as she makes her return to Malaysian soil. Like Tan, the 26-year old will be coming into the tournament off the back of the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the duo will make history by being the first female golfers to represent Malaysia at the Olympics.

Having finished in 70th place on the East Course last year, she will be hoping to improve on the result and continue breaking down barriers in a year in which she has already cemented her place in Malaysian sporting history.

Koh said: “Thank you to Sime Darby for the opportunity to play once again. The tournament is something I look forward to every single year. With Kelly and I representing Malaysia at the Rio Olympics, it’s a great year for golf in Malaysia, and I’m sure everyone is excited. It’s always a great experience to play in front of the home fans and I’m looking forward to seeing them in October.”

At the same time, Ainil Bakar continues to go from strength to strength as she constantly strives to improve her game. Having turned professional in 2012, Bakar competes on the Ladies European Tour and Ladies Asian Golf Tour. She said: “Having come through the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Development Program, I’ve always seen this tournament as a highlight of my year. Of course, I am thankful to Sime Darby for the opportunity to compete once again. It’s truly a privilege to be able to return home and compete on Malaysian soil.”

The three players have been beneficiaries of the Sime Darby Foundation’s (YSD) funding programme, with Tan being awarded YSD’s STAR scholarship in 2011 to pursue a six-month accredited college preparatory course and full-time golf programme at the world’s most prestigious golf institution, Pendleton School at IMG Academies in Florida. Bakar, meanwhile, received funding support for two years to compete on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) and the Ladies European Tour (LET).

The three golfers are the first Malaysians to receive exemptions for the tournament. A minimum of two additional places will be made available for Malaysian players at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia National Qualifying Tournament slated for late September, along with a new category of ‘Amateur Juniors’ which will see the country’s top two junior amateur ranked players given the opportunity to test themselves against the best in the world.

Speaking about the first sponsor exemption places awarded, Steven Thielke, Chairman of Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Tournament Committee and Chief Executive Officer of KLGCC, said, “The Tournament Committee extends its sincerest congratulations to Kelly, Michelle, and Ainil on being awarded the exemption places. The tournament prides itself on the support that it has lent to the development of young talent in Malaysia over the years and these three players are prime examples of it. We also wish Kelly and Michelle every success at the Rio Games later this month where we will follow their progress with great interest.”

The seventh edition of the US$ 1.8 million purse Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will take place on the East course at KLGCC from 27 - 30 October 2016. 78 players, made up of 64 players from the LPGA tour and fourteen sponsor exemptions will compete in the 72-hole stroke play, no cut tournament.

For all the latest updates, visit the tournament website at www.simedarbylpgamalaysia.com. Tournament activities can also be followed on www.facebook.com/SimeDarbyLPGAMalaysia, or via Twitter and Instagram using @SimeDarbyLPGA, #SimeDarbyLPGA, #WomenWithDrive

*According to Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, 25 July 2016

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Tournament Title:

Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2016

 

Event Date:

27th October—30th October, 2016

 

Venue:

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, 10, Jalan 1/70D, Bukit Kiara, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

Event Schedule:

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

27th October
28th October
29th October
30th October

1st round of Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
2nd round of Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
3rd round of Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
4th round of Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia

Tournament Website:

 

About Sime Darby

Sime Darby is a Malaysia-based diversified multinational involved in key growth sectors, namely, plantations, industrial equipment, motors, property and energy & utilities. Founded in 1910, its business divisions seek to create positive benefits in the economy, environment and society where it has a presence.

With a workforce of 132,000 employees in 26 countries and 4 territories, Sime Darby is committed to building a sustainable future for all its stakeholders. It is one of the largest companies on Bursa Malaysia with a market capitalisation of RM43.62 billion (USD10.82 billion) as at 16 May 2016.

About Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC)

Originally opened in 1991, KLGCC is Sime Darby Property’s leading leisure facility. Both the West and East Courses were redesigned by renowned international golf course architect E & G Parslow and then re-opened in 2008 and 2010 respectively. The high quality of construction is synonymous with Sime Darby and incorporates state-of-the art technologies and impressive attention to detail. Since then, KLGCC has redefined superior service and excellence; its facilities and hospitality are one of the prides of the golfing industry.

In addition to the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, KLGCC is home to the internationally renowned Maybank Malaysian Open and CIMB Classic.

Sime Darby Property is Malaysia's leading property developer with a successful track record of developing townships of sustainable communities. As a leading integrated property group, its core businesses are Property Development and Property Investment. In addition to Malaysia, it has a global reach in Singapore, Vietnam, Australia and United Kingdom. For more information on Sime Darby Property and KLGCC, visit www.simedarbyproperty.com and www.klgcc.com.

About CANCER RESEARCH MALAYSIA

Cancer Research Malaysia is the only non-profit cancer research laboratory dedicated to Malaysian cancer research. Cancer Research Malaysia’s mission is to conduct impactful research that can lead to new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer; with the hope that such research will lead to saving lives from this terrible disease. Cancer Research Malaysia was established by YM Tan Sri Dato Seri Tunku Ahmad Yahaya and YABhg Toh Puan Dato’ Seri Dr Aishah Ong in 2000 and officially launched by YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2002, concentrating first on oral cancer then expanding later to research programmes in breast, nasopharyngeal and ovarian cancers, and to natural products with anti-cancer properties. For more information, kindly visit www.cancerresearch.my.

About the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association)

The LPGA is the world’s leading professional golf organization for women. Founded in 1950, the association celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 1,700 members representing 29 different countries. With a Vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women’s golf, LPGA Tour Professionals compete across the globe, while dedicated LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP) directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management. The Symetra Tour consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida. Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via: www.LPGA.com, www.facebook.com/lpga.official, www.twitter.com/lpga, and www.youtube.com/lpgavideo.