Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Teenager Natasha Andrea Oon outshone her rivals to win the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia National Qualifying Tournament at TPC Kuala Lumpur.
It was a belated birthday present for Oon, who celebrated her 16th birthday a fortnight ago.
Oon won the Open category of the National Qualifying Tournament after firing two rounds of one-under-par 70 on the East Course at TPC Kuala Lumpur, a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
She can now look forward to lining up alongside the professionals in the US$1.8 million Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at TPC Kuala Lumpur from October 26-29.
Oon, whose second round included six birdies and five bogeys, ended one shot clear of second placed Renuka Suksukont of Thailand.
Said Oon: “I feel I’ve improved a lot since last year. Last year I wasn’t really happy with my performance in the qualifying. So, this year, I thought I can try and get a spot for a Malaysian but getting the regional Open spot is really a big thing for me. I’m really impressed with myself and I’m really glad I played well.”
On what she can improve upon, Oon said: “I think I can improve on my driving and probably my long iron shots. My putting was really good.”
Overnight leader Aretha Pan was unable to match her first round score of four-under but still topped the Malaysian National category with a 36-hole total of even-par 142.
Said Pan: “I didn’t start off the round well. I was playing rather conservatively but I tried to come back, and stay more focused on my shots. I’m happy to get in but am not very happy with how I played today.”
Securing the three additional places reserved for Malaysian nationals were Michelle Koh and Winnie Ng (tied on 144) and Nur Durriyah Damian (148).
In the Junior Amateur Category, the two berths were taken by Liyana Durisic and Zulaikah Nasser, who both benefited from Oon and Ng’s elevation to the Open and Malaysian National categories respectively.
Steven Thielke, CEO of TPC Kuala Lumpur and Chairman of the Tournament Committee, said: “We have witnessed some stellar performances on the East Course and extend our congratulations to all seven players who qualify on merit for next month’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
“Special mention must go to Natasha Oon on an outstanding result, winning the Open category. She has a fantastic future ahead of her and we look forward to seeing her compete alongside her six compatriots against the very best players in the world at next month’s tournament.
“The eighth edition of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is coming together very well and we look forward to what promises to be a fantastic four days here at TPC Kuala Lumpur.”