The 2015 Ladies European Tour reaches its climax at this week’s Omega Dubai Ladies Masters with a strong international field standing between defending champion and world number six Shanshan Feng and a slice of history at Emirates Golf Club.
In a buoyant mood after taking an unbeatable lead in the battle for the Order of Merit title, the Chinese star will be looking to wrap up the season with a win and become the only three-time winner of the event, promoted and organised by golf in DUBAi, from December 9 to 12.
With the 108-player field, represented by players from 27 countries, boasting a heady mix of youth and experience, there is no dearth of potential winners who will be itching to step up to the plate and challenge Feng, who first won the event in 2012, for supremacy this week.
And that certain someone could be young prodigy Charley Hull or the grand dame of the women’s game, Laura Davies, or a dark horse who could emerge from the shadows to be the star of the tournament as the talent runs deep in the field.
How the script unfolds, only time will tell, but one thing is sure: the tournament, always absorbing, will throw up some of enduring memories to add to its catalogue of classic moments.
With the Danish duo — Emily Kristine Pedersen and Nanna Koerstz Madsen — going neck and neck in the battle for the Rookie of the Year title; US micro-celebrity Paige Spiranac electrifying social media and England’s Hull looking for a breakthrough win, to name a few storylines, the tournament has all the ingredients of a thriller.
Pedersen, who won the Hero Women’s Indian Open in October, leads with earnings of €164,063, a good €32,434 ahead of Madsen, who needs to finish at least third to have a chance overtaking her compatriot.
Providing a distinct “local” flavour to the event will be Morocco’s Maha Haddioui, the first Arab golfer to ply her trade on the Ladies European Tour. And she believes a good showing from her could well mark a watershed moment for women’s golf in the Arab world.
“It’s a little girl’s dream, even if you are 26, you still have a dream to win in the region — Dubai or Morocco. It’s something really strong in my heart,” she said. “If that happens it will sort of inspire other women in the Arab world to take up golf,” said Haddioui, who will be making her fourth appearance in the tournament.
“The (Majlis) course looks absolutely amazing,” tweeted social media sensation Spiranac, bringing smiles on the face of Craig Haldane, Director of Golf Course Maintenance at Emirates Golf Club.
Meanwhile, a series of activities planned on and off the course will help keep the atmosphere buzzing, giving the event the energy of a major. The tournament will wear a ‘Pink’ look on Friday to create breast cancer awareness, especially amongst young people, with the aim of promoting healthy lifestyles in addition to supporting initiatives of Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre, the UAE’s first independent multi-disciplinary medical research centre.
In a bid to encourage more and more fans come to the watch the action, the organisers have once again announced that there will be no entry fee and the tournament, for the third time, will have a Saturday finish.
The Omega Dubai Ladies Masters is backed by OMEGA as the title sponsor and Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC as sponsor. The co-sponsors are: CNN, Drydocks World, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, JA Resorts and Hotels, Mercedes-Benz and wasl, while Dubai Duty Free, Neocasa Interiors and Motivate Publishing are the Patrons in golf in DUBAi’s drive to showcase the emirate’s vibrant golfing scene to a worldwide audience.