At least it was midnight here when the ladies’ final round of the inaugural Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia tournament finished today at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Fifteen players managed to overcome the jet lag and end up under par. And of those, two shot 4-under today, one shot 5-under and the champion, Jimin Kang, shot 6-under in a brilliant 7-birdie round, including one on the 18th hole. And she needed every one of them because veteran Julie Inkster finished one back with one of the 4-under rounds, but with an unfortunate bogey on 18. The leaderboard is here.
Jimin’s victory is personally pleasing for me because, once again, I got to see the world evolving. When my nine-year effort to qualify for the Champions Tour came to an end, I was working with the great Jim Flick. I figured if he was a good enough teacher for Jack Nicklaus, he was good enough for me! Not only that, he was based at my home club during the winter season.
And so, as I was bidding Jim adieu and thanking him for all of his support for me, Jimin was just beginning with him after having played at Arizona State. I only had a brief opportunity to introduce myself and wish her well, together with a couple of hellos after that, but nevertheless, those fleeting interactions personalize the LPGA Tour a little more for me.
Julie Inkster also personalizes the Tour for me because she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where my wife and I once lived, she on “the peninsula” and we in Marin County.
And I guess the other reason I follow her, aside from the fact that she’s a great, 31-time winner (how tough do you have to be to win 31 times!), is because she’s fifty now, flew half a world away and still finished in sole 2nd. You’re only as old as you think you are. Thanks, Julie. Keep up the good work.
Jet lag won’t be an issue next weekend. The Tour moves on to Inchon, South Korea, and the LPGA HanaBank Championship. I’m thinkin’ it’ll be a nice homecoming for Jimin.