Rookie of the Year title boost for Natasha ahead of Maybank Championship

KUALA LUMPUR: Natasha Andrea Oon earned a timely morale boost ahead of the Maybank Championship from Oct 26-29 after being named the Epson Tour's Rookie of the Year following the conclusion of the 2023 season.

The 22-year-old deservingly received the accolade by virtue of being the best-placed first-year competitor on the Epson Tour money list, becoming the first Malaysian to accomplish the feat.

Natasha, who turned professional in June last year, capped off her outstanding first season in the LPGA Tour's development circuit with a tied-33rd place finish at the season-ending Epson Tour Championship at LPGA International on Sunday.

She raked in a total of US$149,670 (RM707,420) from 19 appearances to finish second, earning her a promotion to next year's LPGA Tour.

Her season was highlighted by a victory at last month's Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, a feat that arrived after she claimed four runner-up finishes prior.

"Being Rookie of the Year is such an honour. I didn't really expect doing that out of the gate, I just wanted to get comfortable in this lifestyle," said Natasha.

"But this card and this award really showed me that I have what it takes to do what I want to do."

Natasha does not have to wait until next year to make an impression on the world's most prestigious women's circuit.

She will get to do so at the US$3mil (RM14.18mil) Maybank Championship at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC).

Natasha is one of the six Malaysians who were accorded a sponsor exemption spot.

She had previously competed twice as an amateur in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at the KLGCC, with her best result being 67th in the 2017 edition.

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