24 October 2010

Sime Darby LPGA @ KLGCC (22-24 Oct)


MARIA HJORTH AND LEE JEE YOUNG SHARE LEAD AT SIME DARBY LPGA MALAYSIAMalaysia’s Jean Chua moves up to 11th spot after today’s second round

KUALA LUMPUR, 23 October 2010 –
Sweden’s Maria Hjorth moved into pole position alongside joint overnight leader Lee Jee Young from South Korea after the second round of the inaugural Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. The players are tied at an aggregate of six-under par 136 overall, a one-stroke lead over the field moving into tomorrow’s final round.

It was a mixed day for Hjorth, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour. She had four bogeys, but came up with five birdies and a crucial eagle on the sixth hole to end with a 68, matching yesterday’s first round.

Said Hjorth: “I had a lot of birdies and a great eagle on No. 6, so that obviously helped.  Then I had three bogeys in a row (holes 11-13), which was obviously not very good, but overall I'm very happy with the round.

“I actually thought someone would shoot away a little bit in the scoring, but I'm happy that they didn't. I'm hitting the ball well and obviously making some really good putts, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow,” she added

Lee, who shot a 66 yesterday to share the first-round lead with Mika Miyazato, finished with a one-under 70 today. “I played well today. My shot was really good, but I missed a lot of putts, so I just made one‑under. Tomorrow hopefully it'll work (better),” said Lee, who turned professional in 2004 and has one LPGA Tour victory to her name.

Sitting in third place is Rolex Rankings World No.8 and rising star on the Tour, Kim Song-Hee from South Korea, who is at five-under 137 overall after rounds of 69-68.

The 22-year-old said: “I played pretty solid today. I had some great up-and-downs on two, three and four on the front nine. I had a bogey on number seven, but I came back on eight and nine with birdies. I had a lot of confidence in my shot and added two more birdies.”

When asked what her game plan was for tomorrow, Kim added: “I’m just going to play my own game and have more confidence in my shot and trust my caddie.”

Similar to yesterday, play was suspended in the early afternoon at 2.31 pm due to the threat of lightning and showers and resumed at 4.59pm. 

Natalie Gulbis, who carded a 68 today and sits in a tie for fourth with Japan’s Mika Miyazato and LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, was one of the players to have finished her round before the suspension of play.

Gulbis, who was bogey-free until the 18th, feels the course suits her game. “I love this golf course. This is a golf course that suits my eye real well. I'm an aggressive putter, so these greens suit my game well and, depending on what the leaderboard looks like at the end of the day, it will be fun to go out there and play aggressive and see what happens.”

Also finishing with a 68 today, Jean Chua was the best performer amongst the local players. Going into tomorrow’s final round at two-under par, Chua managed three birdies and an eagle today and is now tied for 11th with five other players.

Said the 23-year-old from Cheras: “My round today was pretty solid. I was a little shaky with the putts on the front nine, but on the back nine they started going in. So tomorrow I'm just going to plan on improving my score and just take it easy. I'm excited that my game is coming together at the right time and at the best tournament for me. “

Compatriot Kelly Tan, who shot an even par round yesterday, currently sits in joint 34th place after scoring a 73 today. Amongst the other big names, Cristie Kerr (29th), Ai Miyazato (43th) and Yani Tseng (48th) were further down the leaderboard.

The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, featuring a world-class field including the top nine players on the Rolex Rankings who are vying for the prize purse of US$1.8 million, will resume with the final round tomorrow, with starting tee-off times just after 8.30am.

The three-day stroke play event with no cut will ensure that players are in Kuala Lumpur for the tournament duration and the local and regional golf community can catch their favourite golfers in action till the end of the tournament.

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