KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Jean Chua is not perturbed over playing against a world class field and is confident she can hold her own when she makes her second appearance in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club this week.
Jean is one of the two Malaysians playing under sponsors’ invites in the prestigious US$1.8mil tournament, which will be headlined by nine out of the top 10 golfers in the world.
Another Malaysian is top amateur Kelly Tan but all eyes will be on Jean to repeat her fine showing at the US Open where she made the cut for the first time recently.
The 24-year-old, who is currently based in United States, suffered bad luck on the final day of the inaugural tournament last year and is hopeful things will be better this time.
She was poised for a strong finish among the top 15 after two rounds of play but had a stroke of bad luck on the final hole.
She eventually needed 11 strokes to complete the 18th hole, leaving her with a three-day total of eight-over 221.
This year’s tournament will comprise four rounds and there is no cut for the field.
“It has been a pretty good year for me in the US and I hope to enjoy a good outing here.
“The competition has drawn all the top players in the world but as my mentor used to say, you are playing the course and not against the players, so it’s something I keep in mind,” said Jean, who is hopeful of winning playing rights in the LPGA Tour next year. On her memories from the inaugural tournament, which only comprised three rounds, Jean recalled the warm crowd support she received.
“The crowd was just crazy and I keep learning from them,” she added.
Jean is not so bothered by the heat but the current rain showers in the afternoon which may be a crucial factor to the chances of everyone playing.
“I played on the West Course last Friday and it was just pouring rain.
“It will be a challenge for everyone but as for the heat, I’ve been playing for 18 years in Malaysia’s hot weather and I think I am used to it.”
Jean together with four LPGA stars Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis and Jennifer Song visited the Sime Darby Medical Centre in Subang Jaya yesterday to officially launch the new Breast Care Centre.
The special visit saw the players and VIPs knowing more about the tournament charity as well as the importance of breast care and screening.
Spectators and members of the public will be able to do their part to contribute to the Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation with proceeds from both ticket sales throughout the four days and the Gala Dinner on Friday evening donated to charity.