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Sime Darby LGPA: Lydia Ko leads the way after Round 1 at TPC

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New Zealander Lydia Ko shot a superb seven-under par 64 to top the leader board after round one of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, which teed off this morning at TPC Kuala Lumpur.

The 20-year-old former world no. 1 got off to a strong start with birdies on the 1st, 6th, 7th, and 8th holes, followed by a further three on the back nine, to leave her one shot clear of second placed Su Oh from Australia, who led for much of the round.

Three dropped shots by the Australian after the turn leaves her in second place, a shot ahead of trio Eun-Hee Ji of Korea, Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden, and defending champion Shanshan Feng of China.

Asked how it felt to shoot her best opening round of the year, Ko said: “I guess you never really know, because when you’re out there, you never think about, ‘hey, what’s my lowest round’ and all that. When you’re out there playing, you’re just trying to make as many birdies as you can and be in a good rhythm.

“I think playing well on the weekend last week really helped me coming into this week. I tried to stay positive, and every shot I hit, I tried to commit to it,” added Ko.

Asked if her first ever round at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia met her expectations, Oh said: “No, actually I didn’t have very high expectations. I just went out there and just played one shot at a time. I was off really early, and it was really dark when I got here.”

With a record around the East Course that has seen her finish in the top two for the last four years, eyes will continue to be on Feng.

Speaking after a strong first round, she said: “I think I just started the round, [saying] ‘5-under is my goal today’, and actually, 5-under [is what I got]. I’m not happy how I scored but if you look at my round, my ball-striking was super. I left myself so many birdie chances. I actually missed a couple out there. I think that’s a good thing to do. I think that means maybe I can still make more on the weekend. I think it’s a good start.”

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Tiger Woods Bakal Ucapkan Selamat Tinggal Pada Sukan Golf?

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Suatu ketika dahulu. nama Tiger Woods sentiasa berada di bibir peminat Golf. Manakan tidak hampir setiap pertandingan yang disertainya pasti akan menduduki tangga teratas carta.

Namun kini nama beliau seakan tenggelam dek kerana mengalami masalah kesihatan malah beliau turut mengumumkan bahawa beliau mungkin tidak akan kembali ke pertandingan kompetitif.

Sebagai rekod, bekas pemain nombor satu dunia ini menang kejuaraan utama terakhir daripada 14 gelaran utama pada 2008 dan pemain berusia 41 tahun itu hanya beraksi enam pusingan kompetitif dalam dua tahun terakhir ketika cuba kembali daripada kecederaan belakang.

Tambah Woods, faktor umur juga merupakan satu kekangan buat beliau kerana usianya yang sudah menginjak 40-an dan turut mengaku hanya mampu memukul sejauh 60 ela

Golf

Tiger Woods arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Florida

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Golf legend Tiger Woods was arrested yesterday in Florida on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, based on records from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

The 14-time major champion was brought into the Palm Beach County jail on early on Monday morning after he was arrested during a traffic stop at three in the morning.

However, he was released three hours after he was put in jail and a mugshot of him looking tired with an unshaven face has gone viral all over the Internet over the past few hours.

There were no follow-ups regarding the incident after he was allowed to leave the jail.

Tiger Woods has been troubled for a while now, from hitting a fire hydrant in front of his home, to admitting to infidelity and being admitted into a rehabilitation centre to treat his sex addiction, and now to being arrested after there was a high level of alcohol in his blood.

The sad story of Tiger Woods can only get sadder.

Golf

Amateur golfers need more government support – Daeng Abdul Rahman

While most three-year olds were still learning how to work pull-on pants, slip-on shoes, and how to feed themselves with a fork and spoon, Daeng Abdul Rahman was diligently following his dad to his golf practices. After he hit his first ball when he was only four, he fell helplessly in love with the sport.

Daeng started playing golf more seriously when he was six, and now, ten years later and he’s gradually carving a name for himself in the international arena. He has already participated in various major golf tournaments, and he will be competing in the Maybank Golf Championship for the second time.

We recently caught up with the sixteen-year old lad from Johor Bahru, and he tells us about how he got sucked into the world of golf, his experience playing aside world-class golfers, and what changes he wishes to see in the local golfing scene.

FO: Daeng, how old were you when you first started playing golf? How did you get sucked into the world of golf?

D: When I was three years old, my dad started playing golf. I would follow him on a weekly basis to watch him practice. From there, my interest in golf sparked. When I turned six, I started playing more often and got more serious about the sport.

FO: You’re only sixteen and you’ll be playing aside world-class golfers at the Maybank Championship. How does that make you feel?

D: I am extremely happy to be chosen to play in this prestigious event. This is a great opportunity for me as a golfer as it provides me with the opportunity to play alongside all these big names. I’m ecstatic to be placed alongside all these great players such as reigning Masters Champion Danny Willett.

FO: How do you think you will do in the tournament? What will be your focus?

D: I think I will do just fine because this is my second time playing at Maybank Championship. I did my best to make the cut and am currently thinking about my game plan. No matter the outcome, I’m excited to play alongside all the players I look up to.

FO: Ben Leong, an accomplished Malaysian golfer, will also be at the tournament. Have you played against him before?

D: No I have not but would love to. He’s been on fire, winning the last five PGM (Professional Golf of Malaysia) events! The golfers that will be playing at Maybank Championship are such great golfers that they would all be a competitors and this would be a valuable learning experience for me. I will be able to test out my skills against the world famous golfers and hopefully learn from them to improve my game.

FO: Let’s talk about your training. How did you fund your training and get sponsors? Was there much support from the government?

D: At the moment, I feel like there isn’t much support for amateur golfers from government bodies. However, there is a good amount of recognition and support through various NGOs and of course corporate organisations like Maybank, especially via tournaments like the Maybank Championship. In terms of funding, I depend solely on my parents.

FO: How is golf picking up in Malaysia? Or, more importantly, is Malaysia a good place for golf?

D: I would say it is gaining momentum in terms of popularity. Over the years, Malaysia has become a golf haven with over 200 golf courses and there are some stunning ones, like the Saujana Golf and Country Club which is the venue for the upcoming Maybank Championship this year.

FO: As a budding Malaysian golfer, what are the changes you wish to see in the golf scene in Malaysia?

D: I’d love to see more golfers from the younger generation playing well in tournaments and gaining recognition at an international level. Tournaments like Maybank Championship 2017 give great emphasis on growing young talent, which I feel is crucial in encouraging young golfers out there to pursue their dreams. I’m looking forward to more tournaments like Maybank Championship and would love to see more tournaments like this in the future.

FO: What do you wish to say to budding golfers?

D: Always work hard. Give a 100% commitment when you’re practicing. Be patient and your time will come. Keep chasing your dreams.

Catch Daeng Abdul Rahman and other golf stars in action at the 2017 Maybank Championship, at the Saujana Golf & Country Club, happening from February 9 to 12.

Golf

13 Malaysian golfers secure Maybank Championship slots

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With just over a month to go until the Maybank Championship gets underway, the ten places for Malaysian Professionals, together with those who already qualify based on the 2016 Final PGM Order of Merit, have been officially announced.
 
Nicholas Fung and Danny Chia have secured their places based on their Asian Tour Rankings and Ben Leong got his name on the line-up after winning the PGM Maybank Players’ Championship. Maybank ASEAN Ambassador Gavin Kyle Green takes one of the local slots and was announced in November of last year, and the remaining nine places go to:
R. NACHIMUTHU
SUKREE OTHMAN
KHOR KHENG HWAI
AIRIL RIZMAN ZAHARI
M. SASIDARAN
KEMAROL BAHARIN
IYLIA JAMIL
LOW KHAI JEI
S. SIVA CHANDHRAN
 
They will be part of the 156 player line-up tackling the challenging Palm Course for a share of the US$3million prize purse. Star players Danny Willett, Charl Schwartzel and Anirban Lahiri have already been announced with more names to follow in the coming days.
Golfing fans coming to support their local players and enjoy the public holiday weekend at Saujana Golf and Country Club will be able to enjoy FREE ENTRY on Thursday and Friday.
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Two local golfers to grace the Maybank Championship alongside world class golfers

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Two Malaysian golfers, Daeng Abdul Rahman and Ben Leong have made the cut for the 2017 Maybank Championship Malaysia.

They will be joining other world class golfers from all over Asia and Europe at the Palm Course, Saujana Golf & Country Club from February 9 to 12 in 2017.

The tournament will feature a total of 156 players from the Asian Tour and European Tour, competing for a whopping US$3 million prize.

Amongst the stars who will be at the Maybank Championship include South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel and Asian favourite Anirban Lahiri.

“The Maybank Championship is one of the marquee events in Asia for the European Tour so I am really looking forward to being there.” Schwartzel said.

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“The 2017 season has started well for me so I am feeling good about the year ahead and am excited to see what I can do when I get to Malaysia in February. Maybank does a great job for the players and I am excited to experience their ‘golf like never before’ for myself.”

“I am not too nervous about next year as I’ve played with some top players before, but it depends who I get to play with.” Malaysia’s Daeng said.

Daeng, whose, current World Ranking 414, will be making his first appearance at the Maybank Championship but has played with some big names on home soil before and he learnt a lot from the experience.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Maybank Championship 2017.

Golf

Malaysian quintet officially secure Sime Darby LGPA spots

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It turned out to be an all-Malaysian affair as the dust settled on the greens of TPC Kuala Lumpur after the second and final day of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia National Qualifying Tournament. Aretha Pan won the tournament in impressive style with a second round score of 4-over par 75 to add to her first round score of 2-under 69.

Local golfers Nur Durriyah and Ashley Lau finished in second and third place respectively, and were awarded the two local qualifying places. Durriyah carded a 2-over par 73 today and scored a total of 147, while Lau shot a 4-over par 75 to finish with a total score of 150.

The result demonstrated Pan’s steady improvement over the past 12 months. The 22-year-old said: “It was a decent round today. I had a good run on the back nine yesterday but I struggled a bit towards the end with my putting. At the end of the day, golf is all about getting the ball into the hole. My putting was still a little bit off today, but it’s definitely something that I will be working hard to improve on now that I have officially qualified!”

Winnie Ng and Natasha Oon posted combined scores of 151 and 154 respectively to secure the two spots available in the new Junior Amateur Category. Finishing in fourth and eighth place amongst the 24 participants, the result is testament to the impact that the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Development Programme has had in nurturing young talent.

Ng scored a respectable total of 151, just one stroke behind 16-year-old Lau. The 15-year-old Ng said: “It’s a total dream come true for me to be playing at a world-class tournament alongside the world’s best players. I actually just scored my first ever hole-in-one here last week, and to now be able to play in my first LPGA tournament here as well, is just a dream come true!”

The quintet will join compatriots Kelly Tan, Michelle Koh, and Ainil Bakar, who were all awarded sponsor invitations to the tournament in October based on their official world rankings. Together they will make up the largest local contingent in the tournament’s history to date.

For all the latest updates on the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2016, visit the tournament website at www.simedarbylpgamalaysia.com. Tournament activities can also be followed on www.facebook.com/SimeDarbyLPGAMalaysia, or via Twitter and Instagram using @SimeDarbyLPGA, #SimeDarbyLPGA, #WomenWithDrive.

Golf

Malaysians gunning for clean sweep at Sime Darby LGPA qualifiers

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Following a stellar first round performance in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia 2016 National Qualifying Tournament, local amateur Aretha Pan is well in the lead as she shot a 2-under par 69 at TPC Kuala Lumpur, leaving her with a four shot lead over Kim Seonryeong, who carded a 2-over par 73.
 
The South Korean finished the first round in second, while Nur Durriyah, who was a qualifier last year, finished in third. Fellow Malaysians Ashley Lau and Winnie Ng are currently tied in fifth.
 
Similar to the format introduced during last year’s Qualifying Tournament, the first placed player, along with the top two ranked Malaysian players will receive automatic entries into the 27-30 October showpiece; in the event that the tournament is won by a Malaysian player, then three Malaysians will qualify.
 
Speaking about her first round performance, Kim said: “Today was a pretty good day for me. I didn’t start out as well as I would have liked, but managed to shake it off and finish stronger, so I was more confident towards the end of the round. It’s only the first round though, and there’s everything still to play for, so I’m definitely going to get in there, stay focused, and give it my all tomorrow.”
 
Pan’s impressive first round means that there is a possibility of a clean sweep of all three qualifying places for the Malaysians. The 22-year-old said: “The round was quite good and I’m pretty satisfied with my performance so far. The weather was very hot today so it was a real challenge staying focused out there. I started off pretty strongly but fumbled a few of the holes towards the end. I won’t be changing much for tomorrow, but will definitely try to keep my focus better, and hopefully I can qualify.”
 
Durriyah, who was a qualifier at last year’s tournament, said: “It was a decent round for me, and I’m just happy to have finished the first round in a position where I can still qualify. I’m feeling pretty good now after that round on the course and I’m looking forward to performing even better tomorrow.”
 
The tournament saw a high number of registrations with 13 players from Malaysia, and the remainder of the 25 player field made up of competitors from South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan. Further back in the standings so far are Qistina Balqis (74), Singapore’s Amanda Tan (75), and Natasha Andrea Oon (76).
Golf

Chan Shih-chang runs riot on final day to win Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup

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Chinese Taipei’s Chan Shih-chang sparked a superb final day charge with a flawless eight-under-par 62 to claim his second Asian Tour victory in two months at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup on Sunday.

Chan, who started the day with a six-shot deficit, broke his personal best 18-hole score to win by two shots on 10-under-par 270 total at the highly-acclaimed Ibaraki Country Club’s West course.

Japan’s Ippei Koike returned with a 69 to take second place while countryman Kazuhiro Yamashita settled a further shot back in third following a 68 at the at the ¥150 million (approximately US$1.3 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour.

Overnight leader Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand battled to a 72 to share fourth place on 274 with local duo Shugo Imahira and Katsumasa Miyamoto, who carded matching 66s, at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup.

Chan, who claimed a sensational breakthrough win in Thailand two months ago, blasted eight birdies, including three-in-a-row from 12, against no bogey to seal the deal in the Japanese showpiece.

“I felt very comfortable out there. Everything was good. I haven’t been hitting my driver well the last few days but I hit it good today. I was just trying to put the ball on the fairways. My iron-play and short game have been solid,” said the 30-year-old Chan.

“I didn’t expect to play so well. This is a very challenging course for me because it is a very long. I got lucky on 13 where I chipped in for birdie from about 30 yards in the bunker. That felt really good and I gained a lot of confidence from there,” added Chan, who amassed 25 putts.

Chan, a five-time winner on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), also credited his recent successes to his change in mindset, a mentality which he thinks come with age and experiences.

“This is my biggest win ever since turning professional 10 years ago. From winning on the ADT to winning on the Asian Tour now, I think my biggest change is my mindset. I think more positively now.

“I used to get angry easily on the course. I guess it’s because I was still young then. I don’t do that anymore and I think the playing experiences helped,” explained Chan, who took home his career’s biggest prize purse of US$294,204 and moved to fourth on the Order of Merit.

Despite missing out on a maiden Asian Tour win, Phachara took pride in his commendable result which propelled him to 29th place on the Merit rankings, putting him well in position to secure his playing rights on the Asian Tour for 2017.

“I did my best. It’s still a good finish for me. I learned a lot this week. I didn’t hit the ball good today but I made a few good recovery shots. I am happy with my result and even happier to keep my card for next year,” said the 17-year-old Thai, who traded two birdies against four bogeys.

Koike also took in the positives as he capped his career’s best result with a runner-up finish.

“I am happy to give myself a chance to play in the final group today. It was a good experience and I learned to play with patience. I am happy with how I finished. It is not an easy course. This result will give me a lot of confidence,” said the 31-year-old Japanese.

Golf

Malaysian golfer determined to shine at Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup

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Malaysian standout Nicholas Fung hopes to improve his standings on the Asian Tour Order of Merit with a strong showing at the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup which starts today.
 
Fung, the 2013 Asian Development Tour (ADT) Order of Merit champion, will also put his chase for a breakthrough victory at the back of his mind when he steps up to the tee at the highly-acclaimed Ibaraki Country Club’s West course.
 
“This is my first time in Osaka. I am very excited. The course seems to be playing longer because of the rain but other than that, it is in a good shape. I am slowly regaining my good form too. I have been playing well recently,” said the bespectacled 26-year-old.
 
Fung, one of the promising stars to emerge from Malaysia, had shown positive signs of edging closer to that elusive win. He has notched two top-10 finishes this season, including a tied-third place result in Chinese Taipei in June.
 
“Now that I have more or less secured my card for next year, I am working on other goals, such as claiming my breakthrough win and qualifying for the CIMB Classic. A good result this week will boost my rankings. That is my main aim for now,” Fung added.
 
Placed 29th on the current Order of Merit, Fung needs to break into top-10 before the cut-off date on October 17 to qualify for the lucrative CIMB Classic in Malaysia next month.
 
Thai veteran Prayad Marksaeng, a nine-time winner on the region’s premier Tour, will also be one of the top draws at the ¥150 million (approximately US$1.3 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour.
 
Prayad proved once again that old is indeed gold when he claimed three victories in the last two months playing in what was his first season on the Japan Senior Tour. He had previously won four titles on the regular Tour in Japan.
 
“I still feel good physically. My game has been good too and I hope to maintain my good form this week. Winning on the Japan Senior Tour has given me a lot of confidence but I know it is a lot more competitive on the Asian Tour.
 
“I have played a lot of tournaments in Japan and I am familiar with the courses and playing conditions here. Hopefully my local knowledge will be an advantage for me this week,” said the 50-year-old, who won the Diamond Cup in 2008 before it came on board the Asian Tour in 2014.
 
Korea’s Jeunghun Wang, Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines, placed third and fourth respectively on the Order of Merit, will also feature in the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup alongside Jeev Milkha Singh of India, Thai legend Thaworn Wiratchant and China’s Liang Wen-chong.
 
They will face off a strong local challenge spearheaded by Hideto Tanihara, highest ranked Japanese in 75th place on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), Yuta Ikeda, Shingo Katayama and Masahiro Kawamura, who had conquered the Ibaraki Country Club’s West course for his first Asian Tour title three years ago.
 
“I felt a strong sense of nostalgia coming back to this course where I claimed my very first victory on the Asian Tour. Time has passed by so quickly. I didn’t even realise it has been three years already! This is not an easy course. You need a lot of patience to play well here. Course management will be key,” reflected the 23-year-old Kawamura.
 
The Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup is the Asian Tour’s second stop in Japan this season. The Tour will also be returning to the Ibaraki Country Club for the first time since 2013.