Defending champion and Olympic bronze medallist Shanshan Feng returns to one of her happiest hunting grounds when she tees it up at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on December 7-10, aiming to embellish her own record at Emirates Golf Club.
China’s most decorated golfer created history in 2015, winning the title for a record third time when a final-round six-under par 66 gave her a tournament tally of 21-under par 267, which matched her own record of lowest 72-hole total set in 2012.
Her 12-shot winning margin was exactly double of the previous record set by the legendary Annika Sorenstam in the inaugural edition in 2006.
The genial Chinese golfer, who is also an Omega brand ambassador, stays grounded despite enjoying an impressive streak of success in Dubai.
“Dubai has been very good to me, a lucky place indeed. I just enjoy this tournament and try to focus on shot by shot,” she said Feng, who boasts 18 professional wins, including six on the LPGA Tour.
“I love this (Majlis) course and it suits my game, so I’m just going to give my best and I think my goal is just a top 10, as always,” said Feng, the only golfer from China, man or woman, to win a major, a feat she achieved at the 2012 Women’s PGA Championship.
Back-to-back victories at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia and the Japan Classic highlighted her solid 2016 season on the LPGA, but the Chinese ace feels winning the Olympic bronze meant a lot because golf returned to Olympics after over 100 years.
“I didn’t play very well for the first half of this year, with my LPGA ranking out of top ten, but I got a medal at the Olympics so I felt that all of hard work has paid off, and I felt really happy about it,” said Feng, who last year also became the first player from China to win the Ladies European Tour’s Order of Merit.
Feng teed up in Dubai with an unassailable lead and, after collecting a first prize cheque for 75,000 euros (Dh 310,000), took her season’s earnings to 399,213 euros, 150,062 euros ahead of second-placed Melissa Reid of England.
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in Dubai, said: “Shanshan is an outstanding competitor, an icon whose achievements on the international circuit have not only raised the profile of golf in China, but also of women’s golf in general.
“Her winning an Olympic medal will strengthen the already strong sports culture in China. I won’t be surprised if it brings fresh energy to golf in the country,” he said.
“We look forward to welcoming our defending champion back in Dubai. Her presence will keep the tournament atmosphere buzzing. I also wish her a pleasant stay in the city.”
The Omega Dubai Ladies Masters is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC as sponsor.