Congratulations go out to Eun-Hee Ji for winning the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship.
This one was about as easy as it has been for any player to win on the LPGA tour this year. Ji entered the final round with a 6 shot lead and never looked back. Her final round 7 under par 65 was good enough to win by 6 strokes over Lydia Ko. It was Ji’s first victory on the LPGA tour since her U.S. Open victory in 2009.
This week the LPGA travels to Malaysia for the playing of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Shanshan Feng will be trying to defend the title she won last year (and two of the past 3 years) when her -17 under par score was 3 shots better than runner-up Suzann Pettersen.
Shanshan Feng will be trying to make it 3 wins in 4 years in Malaysia.
This will be tournament #30 of 33 on this year’s LPGA schedule. It is also the third of five events on this Asian swing.
Course: TPC Kuala Lumpar
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Defending Champion: Shanshan Feng
Winning Score: 66-70-64-67 = 267 (-17)
Final Field: 78 players
Par: 35/36 = 71
Strength of Field
My strength of field rating is a solid 69% (up from 58% last year). Forty-one of the top 50 from the LPGA Priority List (not used on the Asian Swing), and thirty-four of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. Players skipping the event this week include: Lexi Thompson, Hyo Joo Kim, Jenny Shin, and I.K. Kim.
Groups and Tee Times for Opening Round
Video Highlights from the 2016 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia
Golf Channel Thurs. Oct 26, 6:00 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. ET (Tape delay)
Golf Channel Friday Oct 27, 8:00 p.m.- 10:30 p.m. ET (Tape delay)
Golf Channel Sat. Oct 28, 8:00 p.m.- 10:30 p.m. ET (Tape delay)
Golf Channel Sun. Oct 29, 9:00 p.m.- 12:00 a.m. ET (Tape delay)
With the tape delay and 12 hour time difference (ET), when you are watching the TV coverage, the next round will have already started.
Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
So Yeon Ryu – Needs to keep playing well to retain the top spot
Sung Hyun Park – A win here could catapult her to #1
In Gee Chun – Has 8 top five finishes this year, but hasn’t won one yet
Players to watch out for: (I’m feeling it this week)
Shanshan Feng – Because she has won it twice already
Jessica Korda – Always plays well here
Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Brittany Altomare – Playing the best golf of her career
Madelene Sagstrom – Ditto
Other interesting information
Paula Creamer announced on Friday that she had undergone season-ending wrist surgery.
Phase 2 of the LPGA qualifying tournament was completed this weekend with the top 80 players moving on to phase 3. Georgia Hall came out on top of a field of 190 players, shooting a score of 12 under par. Amateurs Leona Maguire and Muni He easily moved on to the final phase, although Maguire has just announced she will not register to play in phase 3. She will be going back to Duke to get her degree. She played phase 2 in order to get 2018 Symetra membership, where she will be playing after she graduates in May.
With Sung Hyun Park having a forgettable result in Taiwan, Lexi Thompson retakes the lead for the Vare trophy with a 69.125 scoring average. It looks like another tight finish for this all-important title and Hall of Fame point. Lorena Ochoa holds the LPGA record with a record low 69.24 she recorded in 2006. Lexi’s current total would be a new record.
Rolex World Rankings Movers of the Week
Eun Hee Ji makes the biggest move this week jumping up from #72 to #42. Madelene Sagstrom jumps up from #83 to #76, while Jacqui Concolino leaps up from #93 to #82.
Race to the CME Globe: (1 million dollars)
Lexi Thompson continues to lead with 3,266 points. So Yeon Ryu moves into second place with 2,966 points. They are followed by Sung Hyun Park (2,919), Brooke Henderson (2,675), and In Gee Chun (2,475). The top 5 players control their own destiny and would win the 1 million dollar bonus with a win at the CME Tour Championship in November.
Lizette Salas has finished 5th, 4th, and 3rd in her last 3 starts.
Brittany Altomare has 3 top ten finishes in her last 5 starts.
Madelene Sagstrom’s third place finish in Taiwan was her best finish of the season (she finished 4th at the Meijer LPGA Classic). It was her second top 8 finish in the last 3 weeks. She now moves up to #45 on the money list. Only Sung Hyun Park and Angel Yin have earned more money as rookies this season.
Mirim Lee has a missed cut, and finishes of 64th and 60th, in her last 3 starts.
M.J. Hur has failed to finish better than 32nd in her last 4 starts.
Mo Martin has not had a finish better than 26th in her last four starts.
Tony’s LPGA Report
Tony Jesselli is the author of the very popular blog TONY’S LPGA REPORT, which has been covering tour and player news since 2010. Every week Tony reports on the latest news and results from women’s professional golf around the world and previews upcoming tournaments with player news, the strength of field ratings, and TV times. It has earned the reputation as the ‘go-to’ resource for up to date and accurate news about the LPGA.