Shanshan Feng will be eyeing a unique double of winning the season-ending events on both sides of the Atlantic when she competes at next week’s Omega Dubai Ladies Masters being held under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, gets under way at Emirates Golf Club from December 1 to 7.
With her confidence on a high following a victory in the LPGA Titleholders Tournament – her second LGPA Tour title in two months – Feng will start as a firm favourite to defend her title at the season-ending Ladies European Tour event.
If she succeeds, which is certainly possible, she will become the first player to win the last events on both the premier tours and emulate the feat of Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, the first golfer, male or female, to achieve a historic double when the former Dubai resident won the Tour Championships on PGA and European Tours in the same season early this month.
With a victory in Dubai, Feng will also match the feat of the great Annika Sorenstam, the only player to have won back-to-back titles in Dubai.
She, however, will her work cut out with the likes of world number three Stacy Lewis of US and Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum joining the fray along with many leading European golfers in a strong field that promises a close finish.
Phatlum, a rising LPGA star, flashed an ominous warning to her rivals ahead of her maiden appearance in Dubai with a creditable third-place finish in the LPGA Titleholders Tournament, just two shots behind Feng, who is now ranked fourth in the world.
The spotlight may be on these three top ranked players, but they are not alone as the field is packed with many potential winners who are as primed as anyone to get the job done.
"This (Omega Dubai Ladies Masters) is like a major on the Ladies European Tour. I really enjoyed playing in Dubai last year, and winning it on my first visit made it even more special,” said Feng.
“Of course, it’s great fun to be back in Dubai, a city I like very much, and have an opportunity to win two in a row, but I will try not to think about it too much. They have such a strong field every year and anyone can win at any time,” said the world number four, who is also a brand ambassador for Omega.
England’s teenage Solheim Cup heroine Charley Hull will also be looking to end the year on a high. She captured headlines worldwide when she helped Europe to defeat the United States for the first time on American soil in The Solheim Cup this August. Since turning 17 in March, Hull finished runner-up in five straight tournaments and has since recorded three more top ten finishes, so is confident of contending for her maiden title in Dubai.
“My game is good enough this year. I’ve had a great season and just need that first win to top the season off. Hopefully I’ll win in the next two weeks,” said the 17-year-old rookie professional from Kettering.
Hull currently tops the standings for Rookie of the Year title with € 115,600 in earnings, followed by England’s Holly Clyburn who is placed second with € 111,924.95 in earnings.
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