FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SIME DARBY LPGA MALAYSIA TO RETURN THIS OCTOBER
Malaysia’s most fun golf event returns for the eighth consecutive year as TPC Kuala Lumpur prepares for a four-day fiesta. Ko and Henderson lay down challenge to Feng.
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.
Women with Drive
Once again Women with Drive banners will adorn the tournament as the event seeks to reaffirm its role of championing women in Malaysia, while continuing to raise funds and awareness for long-term charitable partner, Cancer Research Malaysia.
Taking place at the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Pink Saturday, a day dedicated to raising awareness of breast cancer, will once again add splashes of pink to the fiesta, with a range of fun activities for children, men and women alike, designed to raise funds for the charity.
Since its inaugural year in 2010, the tournament has supported the development of a patient navigation programme that assists low income women gain access to appropriate treatments, helped improve the understanding of the use of mammography in screening, and has enabled the study on intake of soy to reduce breast cancer risk.
Cancer Research Malaysia Chief Executive Professor Dr Teo Soo Hwang said the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia has contributed to not only cancer research, but ensuring women have increased access to life-saving information.
“With the funding, we will ensure that patients, regardless rich or poor, can receive the information and support that they need so that all women have an improved chance to survive breast cancer,” she added.
Women’s Golf Development in Malaysia
One of the main-stays of the tournament has always been its continued investment in the development of young female golfers in Malaysia. Funded by the SDF, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Development Programme will return, providing the 2017 intake of talented Professionals, Top Amateurs and Youngsters with a world class two-part programme.
The first part of the programme is a 5-month support providing 20 top female athletes with access to professional services and facilities at TPC Kuala Lumpur. These benefits include Specialized Golf Tuition, Fitness Training, Physiotherapy, Mental Coaching, Life Coaching & Counselling.
Part two of the programme is a five-week intensive training session open to a wider talent pool of Malaysian female golfers, including a week of training with world renowned coach Ian Triggs from Australia. The programme will once again culminate in the National Qualifying Tournament, slated for 19 – 20 September, which will provide a pathway for four nationals to secure berths in the prestigious tournament, with a further place available for a regional winner.* The tournament will also provide starting places for two Junior Amateurs, who will be selected based on performance over a series of qualifying events in Malaysia.
The eighth edition of the US$ 1.8 million purse Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will take place on the East Course of TPC Kuala Lumpur from 26 - 29 October 2017. A total of 78 players, including 63 players from the LPGA Tour will compete in the 72-hole stroke play, no cut tournament.
To see why the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia really is Malaysia’s most fun golf event, visit the tournament website at www.simedarbylpgamalaysia.com and follow us at www.facebook.com/SimeDarbyLPGAMalaysia, or via Twitter and Instagram using @SimeDarbyLPGA, #SimeDarbyLPGA, #WomenWithDrive #TPCKL