KUALA LUMPUR, 17 September 2010 – The Sime Darby Group and event organisers IMG have today announced that the world’s top five ranked players in ladies’ golf will be coming to Malaysia to compete in the inaugural Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. The event, featuring a prize purse of US$1.8 million, will be played from 22 to 24 October 2010 at the East Course of the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC).
World No.1 Ai Miyazato from Japan, along with Shin Jiyai from Korea, Yani Tseng from Chinese Taipei and Norwegian Suzann Pettersen who are currently placed third, fourth and fifth in the women’s world golf rankings have all confirmed their participation in the tournament. They will join current World No.2 Cristie Kerr, who announced her attendance at the event in May this year, to form a truly star-studded field in what promises to be a historic event for golf in Malaysia and in the region. (World rankings as of 13 September 2010.)
Ai Miyazato, who recently reclaimed the top spot in women’s professional golf after clinching the LPGA Safeway Classic on 22 August 2010, leads the race for this year’s Rolex Player of the Year award. Enjoying a splendid season, Miyazato also leads the field with five Tour wins whilst Cristie Kerr and Yani Tseng are the only other LPGA players with more than one victory in 2010. Miyazato opened the season with two consecutive wins at the Honda PTT LPGA Thailand and the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore in February - the first player in 44 years to accomplish such a feat. She continued her strong form with additional victories at the Tres Marias Championship and the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Earning Rookie of the Year honours in 2009 and at just 22 years of age, Shin Jiyai already has six LPGA victories to her name including her win at the Evian Masters 2010 last month. In 2008, she became the first non-LPGA member to win an unprecedented three events: the RICOH Women's British Open, the Mizuno Classic and the season-ending ADT Championship. Jiyai then went on to claim a memorable come-from-behind victory at the HSBC Women’s Champions last year and become the first South Korean to top the 2009 season-ending money list.
21-year-old Yani Tseng, who won the P&G NW Arkansas Championship last week, is the 2008 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year and the youngest player in LPGA history to win three major championships, including this year’s Kraft Nabisco Championship and the recent RICOH Women’s British Open. She claimed the LPGA Championship in 2008 at just 19 years of age, setting records as the youngest player to win the tournament and the second-youngest player to win an LPGA major.
Suzann Pettersen, who has a total of six LPGA victories to her name including the CN Canadian Women’s Open in 2009, has achieved 11 top-10 finishes out of 16 events this year and has set a personal season-best record of five runner-up finishes. A five-time member of the European Solheim Cup Team, Pettersen has also crossed the $5 million mark in career earnings.
Dato’ Tunku Putra Badlishah, Managing Director of Sime Darby Property Berhad said, "We are truly delighted to welcome the best players in the women's game to Malaysia this October. As one of the final tournaments on the Tour this season, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will be especially crucial with the top five players vying for the coveted top spot. With an impressive line-up of star players, fans can certainly look forward to a highly-charged competition."
The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is a three-day stroke play event with no cut, ensuring that players are in Kuala Lumpur for the tournament duration and the local and regional golf community can catch their favourite golfers in action the entire week. This includes Michelle Wie, who recently claimed her second LPGA title at the CN Canadian Women’s Open last month and has since climbed five places to sit in seventh position in the world rankings. (World rankings as of 13 September 2010.)
“The first ever Sime Darby LPGA will certainly be one to remember with so many of the world’s best female golfers coming here to play. We are working hard to build a wonderful event but what is certain is that fans and the regional golfing community will be able to see their favourite golfers in one place and in top-class competitive action,” said Robbie Henchman, Senior Vice President of IMG.
The domestic Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia local qualifier will be played at KLGCC from 21 to 22 September, and will offer two exemption spots to the top two Malaysian players of the tournament. Last month, Tiranan Yoopan from Thailand and Malaysian Kelly Tan clinched exemption spots to play in the event after placing first and second respectively at the regional qualifier.
For more information on the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, please visit the event website - http://simedarbylpgamalaysia.com/index.php
photos Janos Schmidt