World number 11 Shanshan Feng has confirmed that she will return to Shanghai Qizhong Garden Golf Club to defend her Buick Championship title, when the event takes place in China on May 12-15.
The Ladies European Tour’s first Chinese Order of Merit winner in 2015, Feng is determined to build on her tally of 14 worldwide titles, following her most recent victory in the OMEGA Dubai Ladies Masters in December, which was her fifth title on the Ladies European Tour.
With three wins already in China, (2012 World Ladies Championship, 2013, Reignwood LPGA Classic and 2015 Buick Championship), Feng is particularly keen to uphold her strong home record.
At last year’s Buick Championship, the 26-year-old from Guangzhou compiled rounds of 65, 67, 69 and 70 for a total of 17-under-par and a six stroke victory over Hyeon Seo Kang of Korea, with Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larsen three strokes back in third place.
The Buick Championship has once again attracted a stellar field for its second year on the Ladies European Tour schedule, with current order of merit leader Beth Allen of the United States among the eight of last year’s Tour champions competing.
They include last year’s Rookie of the Year Emily Kristine Pedersen, who claimed her maiden title in India, Rebecca Artis who earned her second title in Scotland and English pair Melissa Reid and Hannah Burke, who won in Turkey and the Czech Republic respectively.
Once again, 108 players, comprising 47 from the LET and 47 from the China LPGA along with 14 invited competitors, will start in the 72-hole strokeplay event. After 36 holes there will be a cut to the leading 50 professionals and those tied for 50th place, who will also compete in a Pro-Am alongside an amateur partner for the final two rounds.
After her comfortable victory on the same course 12 months ago, for which she lifted the distinctive Buick Winged Goddess Trophy and earned a first prize cheque for USD $82,500, Feng is the undisputed favourite for the individual trophy. Last year, she also combined with Liang Zhang to win the team Pro-Am competition running over the weekend and she therefore earned an additional team prize of USD $15,000, with her total event earnings USD $97,500 (approximately 87,000 euros).