As the LPGA Tour makes its way into the weekend in Japan at the TOTO Japan Classic, just a week prior, a few Epson Tour athletes were able to represent their home country while competing for their first LPGA Tour win.
Alyaa Abdulghany, Natasha Andrea Oon, and Ashley Lau are all Malaysian natives who played on the Epson Tour in 2023 and were able to compete in their home country. Andrea Oon found a new home on the LPGA Tour for the 2024 season after her second-place finish in the Epson Tour’s 2023 Race for the Card, making her stop in Malaysia the first of many. Abdulghany has an opportunity to join Andrea Oon on the LPGA Tour when she heads to LPGA Q-Series at the end of the month, while Lau will head into her second season on the Epson Tour in 2024.
For these athletes, competing in their home nation is not an opportunity they take lightly. Playing in front of a home crowd is something only some players from the Eastern hemisphere get to experience often, with only a handful of LPGA Tour events in the area. Regardless of the play on the course, the experience is unforgettable.
“It is quite exciting to play with some of the most elite golfers in the world,” said Abdulghany. “To be back home is very exciting and to have a home crowd here cheering on the Malaysian players is great. My goals haven’t changed; I still want to be an LPGA Tour player and I still have a chance to do that later this year at LPGA Q-Series. So I am just really excited to be back.”
Andrea Oon was the top Malaysian finisher at the Maybank Championship and is using this week as experience as she heads into her rookie year on the LPGA Tour.
“I had a very good first year on tour. Just learning the ins and outs of tour life was very difficult for me,” explained Oon. “But being able to play in Malaysia knowing that I will be on the LPGA Tour next year is just a full circle moment. I played in Malaysia and LPGA Malaysia gave me a lot of exposure to this