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Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Preview, Pairings, and Lots More

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.

Image result for 2017 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia logo

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.

Image result for Shanshan Feng wins 2016 sime darby
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 stop #3 of 5 on the Asian swing.

Here are the key details:

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
Yardage:  6,260
Purse:  $1,800,000

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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.

Here are the first round pairings.

Here are the television times:
GC   Thurs.  Oct 26,   6:00 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. ET (Tape delay)
GC   Friday  Oct 27,   8:00 p.m.- 10:30 p.m. ET (Tape delay)
GC   Sat.      Oct 28,   8:00 p.m.- 10:30 p.m. ET (Tape delay)  
GC   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)
1- So Yeon Ryu - Needs to keep playing well to retain the top spot
2- Sung Hyun Park - A win here could catapult her to #1
3- 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 Tidbits:
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. Annika Sorenstam holds the LPGA record with a record low 68.697 she recorded in 2004. 

Rolex 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.

Who's Hot:
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.

Who's Not:
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.

This Week's Trivia Question:  

What former U.S. Open winner has eight top 25 finishes this season, but finally nailed down her first top 10 in Taiwan this past weekend?

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.

Here are the final results:

1 Cristie Kerr -15
2 Danielle Kang -14
2 Jacqui Concolino -14
2 Shanshan Feng -14
5 Brooke Henderson -13
5 Nelly Korda -13
5 Sung Hyun Park -13
5 Stacy Lewis -13
9 In Gee Chun -12
9 Sei Young Kim -12
11 Lydia Ko -11
11 Madelene Sagstrom -11
13 Lizette Salas -10
13 So Yeon Ryu -10
13 Sarah Jane Smith -10
16 Charley Hull -9
17 Suzann Pettersen -8
17 Carlota Ciganda -8
19 Megan Khang -7
19 Gaby Lopez -7
19 Eun-Hee Ji -7
22 Marina Alex -6
23 Azahara Munoz -5
23 Su-Hyun Oh -5
23 Candie Kung -5
23 Brittany Lincicome -5
27 Caroline Masson -4

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates.  They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog. Tournament results will be posted here at the end of each round. Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found at the top of this page.

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