South Korea’s Choi Na-yeon held off hard-charging world No. 1 Yani Tseng to win the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia in an exciting finish at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club yesterday.
The world No. 4 carded a nervous three-under 68 to finish on 15-under 269 to claim the top prize.
Taiwan’s Tseng, who edged past Choi to win a tournament last week in South Korea, had to settle for second despite equaling the course record with a six-under 65 to end the competition at 14-under 270.
“This week I had a great feeling. So I played very well,” Choi told reporters. “I kept watching the leaderboard. She [Tseng] is so intimidating.”
The duo were tied for the lead on 14-under until Choi’s tee shot from the 17th landed less than 10 feet from the hole and she coolly putted in to give her some breathing space.
Over at the 18th, the 22-year-old Tseng missed a 20-foot birdie putt and a chance to regain a share of the lead.
Her course-record 65 was a gallant effort from the world No. 1, but not enough to collect her seventh title of the season.
For Choi, who has had nine top 10 finishes this season, the victory in Malaysia was her first of the season. The 23-year-old attributed her win to a new found ability to relax.
“When I started to play this year, I think I put too much pressure on myself. Then I told myself that I should play one shot at a time and play with fun,” Choi said.
Meanwhile, Tseng vowed to win on her home turf next week with more consistent play.
“I am expected to do my best and to win next week. I should play with more consistency and treat everyday as the last day,” she told reporters.
Tseng, who has had a dominating year, winning six of the 18 events she’s played in, heaped praise on her rival.
“She played very well. For sure, I felt some pressure. Last week I won, this week she won,” Tseng said.