This week, the Ladies European Tour returns to the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club for the 11th Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, held under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, Wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The stage is set for a spectacular finale to the season with the strongest ever field of competitors, including nine of this year’s tournament champions. Beth Allen of the United States, who won the Lacoste Ladies Open de France and Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open, is already assured of the Order of Merit title, while Indian teenager Aditi Ashok has guaranteed Rookie of the Year honours after her back-to-back wins at the Hero Indian Women’s Open and Qatar Ladies Open last month.
Another rookie winner in the field is Nuria Iturrios from Spain, who won the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco on her second start as a professional. They are joined by first-time winners Min Jung Lee (World Ladies Championship), Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Tipsport Golf Masters), Isabelle Boineau (Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open), Anne Van Dam (Xiamen International Ladies Open) and Supamas Sangchan (Sanya Ladies Open) as well as the defending champion Shanshan Feng, who earlier this year successfully defended at the Buick Championship in Shanghai.
Feng, who has won the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters three times in the last four years, attended her preview press conference with her Olympic Bronze Medal in Dubai on Monday. She said: “I love coming back to Dubai. I love the golf course and love how the tournament is set up.”
There are 19 stars of the Olympic Games from Rio in the field, including Norwegian Suzann Pettersen, who is making her debut appearance at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters. The eight-time Solheim Cup player said: “It’s amazing that it’s taken me this long to come here because from what I’ve heard, this is the best tournament all year round on the European schedules, not just from the girls, but from the guys when they are here. A great golfing town and great city: obviously great everything. I’m very happy to be here.”
Some of the other stars from the Olympic Games include Charley Hull and Pornanong Phatlum, the 2013 Omega Dubai Ladies Masters champion from Thailand, who finished tied for fourth last year.
Social media sensation Paige Spiranac has returned after receiving one of the 11 invitations from the tournament promoter, ‘golf in DUBAi’ and she said: “I embrace my platform now and use it for good and especially focus on the cyberbullying and growing the game, and everything I can to bring attention to this tournament for the best players of the world. This tournament deserves that and with Suzann Pettersen and Shanshan and Charley Hull coming; to give them that recognition they deserve is great.”
A total of 108 players are set to light up Emirates Golf Club from Wednesday (December 7) to Saturday (December 10) with live international television coverage over all four tournament rounds.
Tournament Facts and Figures
First played: 2006
Most wins: Shanshan Feng 2012, 2014, 2015
Youngest winner: Lexi Thompson: 16 years, 10 months and 7 days
Oldest winner: Annika Sorenstam: 37 years, 68 days
Lowest 18 hole score: 63 (-9) Dewi Claire Schreefel in 2012
Lowest first 18 holes: 64 (-8) Louise Stahle, 2007
Lowest first 36 holes: 133 (-11) Annika Sorenstam 2006, Shanshan Feng 2014
Lowest first 54-hole score: 199 (-17) Shanshan Feng 2014
Lowest 72-hole score: 267 (-21) Shanshan Feng 2012 and 2015
Lowest final round by a winner: 66 Pornanong Phatlum 2013, Shanshan Feng 2015
Largest winning margin: 12 shots, Shanshan Feng, 2015
Holes in one (4): Tania Elosegui on the seventh in 2009, Connie Chen on the 15th in 2013, Stacey Keating on the fourth in 2014, Georgia Hall on the 15th in 2014
Low cut: +3, 2014
High cut: +8, 2007