DUBAI — Shanshan Feng will spice up the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters with a distinct Chinese flavour when she makes her maiden appearance in the season-ending Ladies European Tour event to be 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 first golfer from mainland China to win a major title when she captured the LPGA Championship in June earlier this year, Feng will further bolster a star-studded field which includes the likes of defending champion Alexis Thompson, Michelle Wie and seasoned Laura Davies. At present ranked fifth in the world, Feng believes her victory on the US women’s circuit, could provide enough stimulus to spark golf’s popularity growth in China.
“Hopefully it’s going to help golf in China because I want to be Li Na for golf in China,” said the 23-year-old, referring to the superstar status enjoyed by her compatriot after her first win in the 2011 French Open.
“There are good players from China, young players, right now. I became the first one, but I’m sure there will be a second, third, more people winning in the States and winning majors,” said Feng who started playing golf at the age of 10.
A strong finish at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, starting from December 5 to 8 at the Emirates Golf Club, will certainly add to her growing popularity and cap a ground-breaking year for Feng, who boasts seven professional wins, including five on the Japanese Tour and one on the Ladies European Tour since turning pro in 2007.
“A win in Dubai will certainly ice the cake, but for that to happen to I will have to bring in my A-game since the field is studded with a host of potential winners from both sides the Atlantic,” said the rising Chinese star.
“The LPGA Championship win has given me a lot of confidence. I really believe in myself that I can win more events. I’m practicing really hard, especially on my short game, but I can’t really control all of it. What I can do is to have fun out there and just play the best I can,” said Feng, who moved to the United States as a teenager to train for golf”
“It will be my first visit to Dubai, but I have heard many good things about the city and look forward to enjoying every moment there. The (Majlis) course, I am told in great shape. I am rubbing my hands in anticipation and can’t wait to get started.
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, commented: “The presence of Shanshan will certainly add more star power to the field. Her victory on the LPGA Tour underlines what we knew all along that Chinese are very good at everything they attempt because of their strong work ethic. “We look forward to welcoming her and I am sure the fans will turn up in large numbers to watch her play for the first time in Dubai. I wish her a pleasant stay and hope she will return home with good memories of the city.”
golf in DUBAi’ is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and Dubal (Dubai Aluminium) as the sponsor. The co-sponsors are: CNN, Drydocks World & Maritime World, Emirates NBD, Gulf News, Mercedes-Benz and wasl while Dubai Duty Free, Carpetland and Motivate are the Patrons in golf in DUBAi’s drive to showcase the emirate’s vibrant golfing scene to a worldwide audience.