A stunning final-round comeback saw China’s Shanshan Feng clinch her fourth Omega Dubai Ladies Masters title in five years, as Michael Stoneman reports
China’s Shanshan Feng underlined her recent dominance of the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters as she staged a stunning final-round comeback to win her fourth title in the last five years.
The defending champion began the day five shots adrift of overnight leader Felicity Johnson, but a run of seven birdies in her first 11 holes saw the world no. 4 surge to the top of the leaderboard and she eventually signed for a faultless eight-under-par 64 on a blustery final day at Emirates Golf Club.
That was enough to give Feng a two-shot victory over England’s Charley Hull – who hit a bogey-free, seven-under-par 65 – with Johnson shooting a three-over-par 75 to finish six shots adrift in a tie for seventh.
“I knew that I would have to play hard, try hard to try to catch the leaders, but I think the weather was great for me,” said Feng afterwards. “It was windy. If there wasn't wind out there today, I don't know what would happen. But happy that luck was on my side and I finally brought out my ‘A’ game.”
The tournament, which was the final event of the 2016 Ladies European Tour (LET) season, had been reduced to 54 holes following the tragic death of caddie Maximilian Zechmann during Wednesday’s opening round.
Feng, who won last year’s event with a record score of 21-under-par for 72 holes, began slowly with rounds of 72 and 70 and admitted afterwards that she had been struggling with her putting.
“I didn’t play super well the first two days,” she said. “My putting was kind of lost and I’m very happy that I was able to putt well today and make a lot of birdies.
“I made small adjustments in my posture and today I think I found the most comfortable way to putt again. I was misjudging the speed the first day, and I think I got better today. Today, I got the speed and the line better. So that's why the balls were dropping.”
The 27-year-old also revealed that despite trailing by five strokes at the start of the final round, she still believed that she had a chance to win her third successive Omega Dubai Ladies Masters title – especially in the blustery conditions players faced at Emirates Golf Club
“I knew that it was going to be windy today and I knew that playing in the wind is one of the strongest parts [of my game],” she said. “So even though I was five behind in the morning, I always thought that maybe I would still have a chance to win this week and I tried my best.”
And for the fourth time in five years, Feng’s best once again proved to be good enough to win the ‘Veiled Lady’ trophy.