Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Continuing under the Women with Drive banner, this year’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will see a number of developments to ensure that the tournament maintains its position as one of the region’s leading golf events, offering first-class entertainment and a great day out for all spectators.
With a host of new initiatives planned both on and off the golf course, four days of fun-filled entertainment are promised from October 8-11 when the showpiece event returns to its home at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) – a Golf Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Among the developments announced for 2015 are:
- Defending Champion Feng Shanshan has confirmed she’ll return to the East Course to defend the title she won in such emphatic style last year. The 25-year-old from China has moved up the world rankings and now holds sixth position in the Rolex Rankings with four LPGA Tour victories to her name.
- A new look for Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia’s Qualifying Tournament will see one spot awarded to the winner, from any nation, and a further two places awarded to the top two ranked Malaysians. If the tournament is won by a Malaysian, three Malaysian players will qualify.
- Malaysian players, dubbed the ‘Malaysian Angels’, will return with a twist. The top three ranked Malaysians, according to the Rolex World Rankings, will gain automatic entry into the tournament. With two places guaranteed through the local qualifying tournament, the new format ensures a minimum of five home grown players qualifying for the tournament.
- The focal point of the social scene this year will be theCourtyard Marquee, a new covered area overlooking the practise putting green and 18th hole which will be open to the public. With food stalls, live DJ, views of the giant TV screen and a Players’ Corner, where visitors can meet the players, the Courtyard Marquee will be the place to ‘see and be seen’ during tournament week.
- Embracing the trend sweeping Malaysia, visitors will be able to enjoy a range of authentic Malaysian cuisine produced by some of Kuala Lumpur’s most loved chefs who will be selling their gastronomic specialities from iconic food trucks within the tournament concourse.
- Friday, October 9 has been designated Ladies Day @ Sime Darby LPGA. Not only will all women be granted free access to the tournament, there will also be a host of health, beauty and fashion activities created especially for the ladies.
- Once again, the tournament will raise funds and awareness for the Official Charitable Partner – Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF), with all proceeds going towards the fight against breast cancer in Malaysia. Pink Saturday will return with a host of charitable initiatives designed to add colour to the occasion. Since its inaugural year in 2010, the tournament has raised in excess of RM2.5 million for the charity.
Speaking about her return to KLGCC, Feng said: “Last year’s tournament is such a happy memory for me – particularly coming off the back of a difficult week in China – and I am really looking forward to getting back on course at KLGCC. I hope I can pick up where I left off last October. It’s a fantastic tournament and beautiful course.”
This year also sees the launch of a new talent search initiative from Sime Darby and KLGCC. Rising Star Juniors is a community-sports programme targetting boys and girls between the ages of 12 to 17 from underprivileged backgrounds.
The two-year programme, which currently has 18 students under tuition, will provide these junior hopefuls with life-skills assistance and golf playing opportunities to produce successful, well-rounded and educated young golfers in a collaborative effort initiated by KLGCC with funding from the Sime Darby Foundation and support from KLGCC members and MST Golf.
The sixth edition of the US$2 million Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia will include a 75-strong field, made up of 63 players from the LPGA Tour, a minimum of five Malaysian nationals and seven further sponsor exemptions.