American Lexi Thompson held off final round challenges from Shanshan Feng and Suzann Pettersen to win the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia by a comfortable 4 shot lead. The teenager who’s been hunting her 2nd LPGA victory all year, who’s kept her head down and played consistent golf, hit pay dirt at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club this weekend.
Thompson shot 4 sub-par rounds and ended the tournament at an impressive 19 shots under par, well ahead of Shanshan Feng’s 2nd place -15. Well done, Lexi!
Just a bunch of happiness right now . . . it’s the top players in the world here . . . Every tournament you have to have your A game, and that’s what I had this week.
Lexi Thompson, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Winner
Two long years have passed since Thompson’s initial Tour win at the 2011 LPGA Navistar LPGA Classic. She’s made 43 starts, piled up 11 top-10 finishes, and taken home a little over $1.5 million. She’ll add this weekend’s paycheck of $300K to those earnings and start thinking about passing the $2 million mark.
Feng: ‘The Pressure’s Off’
Reignwood LPGA Classic winner Shanshan Feng tried hard to make it 2-in-a-row with back-to-back wins in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur, and she got close. Feng had only a single bogey on her scorecard for the 4 rounds at the Sime Darby, came into the final round trailing Thompson by 6, and closed the gap to 4 shots.
Feng played with Thompson on Saturday and knew what it was going to take to catch her. It wasn’t to be. Still, Feng was philosophical about her 2nd place finish and not at all dissatisfied with it. ”After the win last week, the pressure is off, and I got my confidence back and I’m really relaxed on the course. I really enjoy playing now.” Her enjoyment earned her a $186K paycheck, about $2500 for each hole of fun!
Too Many Bogeys
Suzanne Pettersen and Ilhee Lee finished the Sime Darby at -12 in a tie for 3rd place. They both failed to deliver their A game in the final round. Pettersen stumbled on the par 4 2nd hole with a double bogey and Lee, who set the pace for the tournament and held a slender lead through the 2nd round, piled up 5 bogeys on Sunday for a costly final round score of 73, 2 shots over par.
Still, Rolex ranked #2 Pettersen outplayed both Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis. Park, Sime Darby defending champ and Rolex ranked #1, did not play like a champion this weekend. She finished the tournament with a 4th round score of 73 that included double bogeys on the par 5 6th hole and the par 3 15th hole.
Lewis, bumped off the #1 Rolex rank by Park and then displaced from the #2 rank by Pettersen, may still be stinging from her loss to Feng at the Reignwood. With 15 birdies and 7 bogeys on her Sime Darby cards, Lewis finished the the tournament at -6 and a share of 6th place. It’s another top-10 finish for America’s top-ranked woman golfer, but it’s a disappointing finish. I hope Lewis can recover her A game before we see her again.
This may have been Suzann Pettersen’s warm-up for the LPGA – KEP HanaBank Championship in Inchon, Korea next weekend. Pettersen’s the defending champion at the HanaBank. She’ll face Lexi Thompson, fresh off her Sime Darby win, and Ilhee Lee, but Stacy Lewis and Sheanshan Feng are both taking some time off.
I’ll have more about the next stops on the LPGA Asia loop this evening. For now, let’s congratulate Lexi Thompson on a well-played tournament!