Calling Dubai her ‘lucky place,’ China’s Shanshan Feng feels stress-free as she prepares to tee up as the defending champion in this week’s Omega Dubai Ladies Masters at Emirates Golf Club, the season-ending tournament on the Ladies European Tour.
The world No.6 from Guangzhou has already wrapped up the LET’s order of merit title and will attempt to become the first player to win the title three times from 10 editions of the tournament. She first won the trophy in 2012, when she set the lowest winning score of 267, twenty-one under par, for four rounds.
“This year, coming back, I don’t feel as nervous as I did in 2013,” said Feng, 26, with 14 professional titles. “Last time when I was the defending champion, I think I felt a little bit of pressure, so I didn’t perform as well as I thought I would,” said Feng who still finished in a tie for fifth in 2013.
“I just want to relax and enjoy this tournament. I love this golf course and it suits my game, so I’m just going to give my best and I think my goal is just a top 10.”
Feng was the first Major Championship winner from mainland China in 2012 and reached a world ranking of fourth by the end of 2013, but regarding her current world ranking, she feels it will be tough to catch Lydia Ko.
“Lydia is playing really, really well and she is the world No.1 right now. Even though she’s young, she’s got everything. She’s the whole package. It’s not like she has anything weak and that’s why she’s up there.”
“She’s not at her highest point yet, so I think if other girls want to catch up with her, we need to maybe try even harder.
While Feng is working on the minor nuances of her putting technique, former world number one Dame Laura Davies changed her style to left hand low two months ago and feels that her results are improving.
“We’re practising more than I’ve ever done before, so it’s not like I’m trying to get better, but as you get older, the short game goes. I think you can hit the ball well into your 70s, 80s, you still see people hitting it well but for some reason the short game seems to be the thing that goes as you get older,” said Davies, who is also a golf in DUBAi ambassador.
I just dream about hitting a nice wedge onto the 18th and holing an eagle putt to take the trophy.”
The 2010 Women’s Indian Open was Davies’ last win on the Ladies European Tour but her most recent was a victory on the US Seniors Tour in 2011.
“If anyone watches me play and sees my ball-striking, they would have no hesitation to think I could win a golf tournament, but if you’re averaging 32, 33 putts a round, you can’t win because everyone is so good now. But the motivation to win is still 100 per cent there. That’s all I can think about is winning again,” she continued.
She even went so far as to say that she is more motivated and hungry than ever. “If anything, I’m more now because I would trade every win I’ve ever had for one more win.
“I can’t understand why I’m not winning but obviously short game is the primary reason and sometimes when I’m in contention a little pressure sets in so it’s almost like I’m starting again. I’m just trying to get that breakthrough win.”
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