LPGA’s big guns ready to fire in Malaysia

Five of the top six female players in the world will line up at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, which starts on Thursday at TPC Kuala Lumpur’s East Course.

World number one Ryu So-yeon and No. 2 Park Sung-hyun, both of South Korea, make up a strong field of 78 players from 22 countries that will battle for the title, a share of the $1.8 million purse and an all important 500 points on the Race to the CME Globe.

With just four tournament left this season, Ryu and Park are neck and neck in the race for the end of season award.

In the race, world number three Lexi Thompson (who is absent this week) currently leads the standings on 3,266 points, while Ryu is second with 2,966 and Park third with 2,919 points.

"I have so many reasons why I love this tournament," Ryu said. "First of all, we have the wonderful hospitality and we play a really nice golf course and we support cancer research here.”

Another top player appearing in KL is defending champion Shanshan Feng of China, who took the title last season with a three stroke victory for her fifth career win and second in Malaysia. She also won in 2014.

"There are a lot of people speaking Chinese here, so I feel like I'm at home, and a lot of people actually are supporting me," said world number six Feng.

"Coming back here reminds me of a lot of good memories, and I love the food. I love the course. Of course, the weather, too, I don't mind. I play well here every year, so I love it."

Evian Championship winner and world number five Anna Nordqvist is also present and looking for her third win of the season, although she believes Feng will be the player to beat given her form in Malaysia.

"I played with Shanshan a couple times here – hopefully she will give the rest of us a chance this week," Nordqvist said. "It's a great golf course, a great track, and we couldn't be happier coming back here year after year. It's getting better and better every year; you thought it was in perfect condition and you show up and it looks even better, more flowers. It's just such a great atmosphere."