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Lewis, Ko, Lexi headline LPGA event in Malaysia

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Rolex world No. 1 Stacy Lewis, No. 3 Lydia Ko, No. 4 Suzann Pettersen and defending champion Lexi Thompson lead the field this week at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

Eight of the top 10 players in the world are competing in the second leg of the six-week fall Asian swing.

World No. 2 Inbee Park and No. 6 Michelle Wie are the only top-10 players who aren’t in the field. Park is getting ready for her wedding next week in South Korea, and Wie is still recuperating from an injured finger in hopes of making her return next week at the KEB-Hana Bank Championship in South Korea.

Lewis shared the lead through three rounds of last week’s Reignwood LPGA Classic in China in a bid for a wire-to-wire victory before being overtaken in the last round by South Korea’s Mirim Lee, who scored her second LPGA title this year, equaling Ko for most LPGA victories by a rookie this season.

“I've been playing some good golf all year,” Lewis said Tuesday in her pre-tournament news conference in Malaysia. “It just comes down to making a few key putts in the final round. I didn't quite do that last week, but the game is where it needs to be.”

Lewis leads the LPGA this year in Rolex Player of the Year points, official money, scoring, putts per greens in regulation, birdies, rounds in the 60s and top-10 finishes. She also leads the CME Race to the Globe.

Ko, 17, will be teeing it up for the first time since tying for eighth at the Evian Championship almost a month ago. She spent last week in South Korea getting special treatment on her left wrist and the cysts that have caused it to swell this summer.

Thompson will be looking to use the positive vibes of last year’s victory in Malaysia to add to her Kraft Nabisco title earlier this year. She won in a four-shot runaway at Kuala Lumpur a year ago.

“I think my favorite memory was just walking up to the 18th green and embracing all the fans,” Thompson said. “The fans were amazing last year. In between every hole they were always rooting me on.”