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Sunday October 13, 2013 MYT 6:00:00 PM
Monday October 14, 2013 MYT 9:59:41 AM
by s. ramaguru
American Lexi Thompson wins the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia title by four strokes at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on Sunday. BERNAMA Photo.
KUALA LUMPUR: American youngster, Lexi Thompson practically ran-away with the fourth edition of the Sime-Darby LPGA Malaysia title with a four-stroke win over China’s Feng Shanshan at the KL Golf and Country Club on Sunday.
She also set the tournament record for the lowest winning score at 19-under-par 265, beating the previous best total as well as the Korean grip on the event set by Park In-bee last year and Choi Na-yeon in 2011 on 15-under par. Kang Jimin was the inaugural winner in 2010.
Thompson, who carded a final round of two-under 69, also improved on her joint 30th finish in her only previous appearance here last year. The talented Thompson has now won two career titles. Her first was the Navistar LPGA Classic in 2011.
Starting the day with a three shot lead, the 18-year old American was in no serious threat and a solid back nine saw her winning the title with rather ease.
Despite hitting a bogey in the second hole, she virtually wrapped up the title by bagging three straight birdies from the 10th hole to open a seven-stroke advantage over her closest rival. Another birdie in the 16th and a bogey on the 17th completed her day's scorecard of two-under.
Shanshan, playing in the second last flight, tried to catch up but failed. She was 11-under going into the final round and a late surge only managed to produce a four-under 67 for a total of 15-under 269.
Thompson, who collected the US$300,000 (RM954,000) winner's cheque and a trophy from Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajjah Haminah, said it has been a great experience here in Malaysia and is privileged to have won the title.
“Just a bunch of happiness for sure, Words cannot describe how I am feeling right now. It is like a rerun of my previous win in 2011,” said the World No. 21 teenager.
“This is indeed a big win for me. I have put in so much hard work over the months, improving on my short game in particular ... it just had to pay off.
“I will continue to work hard and try to win as many tournaments as possible. I will have the same attitude going into every tournament,” she added.
She admitted that for a while in the front nine, Korean Ilhee might edge closer. But the birdies from the 10th hole were a huge relief that kept her ahead.
“That was big… on the 10th hole. The birdie on the 11th was unexpected …it was a 35 footer. But birdies like this are very important in a tournament, (to get) the momentum and confidence,” she added.
Runner-up Shanshan said it had been a good outing for her especially finishing second.
“It as great finish for me. Coming on after the win in Beijing (Reignwood LPGA Classic) last week I feel my game is in good stead. I will now have a short break and will be back with the Japan tournament (Mizuno Classic) next month.
“I had a fairly good start in the final round and there was no pressure since I was not playing with the main flight. I had a late surge with birdie, par and birdie but it was not enough to get near Lexi.
“I am sure her win is good for the tournament here. And it would be nice to see more young American girls coming through to play in this region. I’m sure her win will boost the popularity of the game at home as well,” added Shanshan, who picked up US$188,577 (RM599,000).
World Number two Suzann Pettersen finished seven strokes off the pace in joint-third place with the tournament’s early pacesetter Lee Ilhee of South Korea at 272.
Defending champion and World No. 1 In-bee never got going, carding her worst round in the tournament with a 73 to finish joint 32nd with three other golfers at one-under 283.
The best-placed Malaysian was Michelle Koh at 60th spot. She had a final round score of 10-over 294, after shooting a three-over 74 on the day. She was also the best amateur finisher in the field of 72 golfers.
Tags / Keywords:
Lexi Thompson, Feng Shanshan, Lee Ilhee, Suzann Pettersen, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, golf
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