Tan, Koh and Bakar to Lead Local Challenge at Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia in October


Top ranked ‘Malaysian Angels’ awarded sponsor exemptions at showpiece event.


KUALA LUMPUR, 13 AUGUST 2015 – Malaysia’s top three ranked players, Kelly Tan, Michelle Koh and Ainil Bakar, have been awarded qualifying exemptions for one of the region’s leading international golf tournaments, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2015, which tees off at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) from 8-11 October.

The highly sought after places have been awarded to the players in recognition of their continued progress as professional golfers and will see them lead the Malaysian challenge against an all-star LPGA field, set to feature household names such as Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson and Minjee Lee.

Malaysia’s top ranked player and LPGA Tour regular, Kelly Tan, is currently ranked 193 in the world rankings* and 93 on the LPGA Money List. 2015 showed early promise for the 21 year old from Johor but she is yet to make the breakthrough that she promised when she made a LPGA career-best T4 at last year’s Marathon Classic. But a return to the familiar hunting grounds of KLGCC, combined with the support she can expect on the East Course will be a major boost.

Tan said: “I’m delighted to be coming back home in October for the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. A big thank you to the tournament sponsor Sime Darby for the chance, once again, to compete in front of a home crowd. It’s always a wonderful tournament, one that is a big hit amongst my friends on tour who just love everything about the tournament including the local food, culture, and people. I am really excited to return as a Malaysian Angel!”
25 year old Michelle Koh is currently ranked fourth on the China LPGA Tour Order of Merit, picking up her season’s first win at CTBC Shanghai Ladies Classic in June this year. Always a popular figure around KLGCC, she left fans wondering what might have been after Round 4 in 2014, shooting an impressive five under par to leave her tied with Tan for honours among the six Malaysians competing. The pair finished at two over par and tied in 49th place.

Speaking about her return to KLGCC, Koh said, “Thank you very much to Sime Darby for the invitation to play. The tournament is always the focus of my year and I’ll be looking to build on last year’s performance. The course is very challenging but it’s a great feeling playing in front of the home fans. Look forward to seeing you in October.”

Meanwhile 26 year old Ainil Bakar continues to make her way up the world rankings since turning professional in 2012 and plays on the Ladies European Tour and Ladies Asian Golf Tour. Speaking about her return to the East Course, Bakar said: “Thank you to Sime Darby. It’s a real privilege to come and play this tournament and I hope that I can put in a good performance. My game’s been showing some good progress this year so I’m really looking forward to competing back home.”

Both Tan and Bakar were beneficiaries of the Sime Darby Foundation’s (YSD) funding programme earlier in their careers, 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). All three players are graduates of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Development Programme.

Continuing under the ‘Malaysian Angels’ banner, the three players are the first to receiveexemptions for the tournament, which marks the start of the LPGA Tour’s late season Asian swing. A minimum of two additional places will be made available for Malaysian players at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Local Qualifying Tournament slated for late September.

Speaking about the first sponsor exemption places awarded, Steven Thielke, General Manager of KLGCC and Chairman of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Organising Committee, said, “The Tournament Organising Committee has revised the criteria for awarding exemption places for

the 2015 tournament. All exemptions will be awarded on merit, starting with the top three ranked Malaysians on the Women’s World Golf Rankings on 12 August. We extend our congratulations to Kelly, Michelle and Ainil on their achievement and look forward to seeing them play in October. I am sure they will seize the opportunity to do their best in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. They will greatly benefit from the experience.”

Billed ‘the nation’s most fun golf event’, the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2015 sees a host of new initiatives planned both on and off the golf course, promising four days of fun-filled entertainment complete with live DJs, food stalls, Kids Zone, Chip-4-Charity, and it’s very own KL Food Truck Festival.

Open to the public from 8-11 October, from 7.30am to 6pm, the sixth edition of the US$ 2 million purse tournament will take place on the East course of KLGCC. 75 players will compete in the 72-hole stroke play, no cut tournament for one of the largest prize purses in Asia.

For all the latest updates, visit www.facebook.com/SimeDarbyLPGAMalaysia. Tournament activities can also be followed on Twitter and Instagram @SimeDarbyLPGA, #SimeDarbyLPGA, #WomenWithDrive. *According to Rolex Women’s Wold Golf Rankings, 10 Aug

                                                                                  -ENDS-



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 over 100,000 employees in over 20 countries, 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 RM57.87bn (USD18.18bn) as of 7 July 2014.

About Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club Berhad (“KLGCC”)

Originally opened in 1991, KLGCC, Malaysia’s premier golf and country club, is Sime Darby Property’s leading leisure facility. Both the West and East Courses were completely redesigned by renowned international golf course architect Parslow & Winter Golf Design 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.

Visit klgcc.com for more information. Like us on Facebook- Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club to gain insights on our latest happenings.

About CANCER RESEARCH MALAYSIA

Cancer Research Malaysia, formerly known as Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF), 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. Cancer Research Malaysia was first established as CARIF 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.

About IMG

IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion and media operating in more than 25 countries around the world. IMG’s businesses include Events & Media, College, Golf, Tennis, Performance and IMG Academy, Fashion, Models, Clients, Licensing, Joint Ventures, and creative management agency Art + Commerce.

In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, the world’s leading entertainment and media agency. Together, the companies offer an unparalleled client roster; strategic partnerships with sponsors and brands; and marquee assets across sports, entertainment, events, music and fashion.

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