Shanshan Feng’s victory Saturday at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters was her sixth worldwide title this season.
She has claimed more international titles in 2012 than any other woman.
Feng, 23, won twice on the Ladies European Tour with the title in Dubai and another at the World Ladies Championship in China in March. She won three times on the Japan LPGA Tour, claiming the Yonex Ladies in May, the Meiji Cup in August and the Japan Women’s Open in September. Feng’s most important title came at the Wegmans LPGA Championship in June, making her the first player from mainland China to win a major championship or an LPGA event.
Over the last two seasons, Feng has been a shooting star in the Rolex World Rankings. At the start of the 2011 season, she was 79th in the world. She entered this week No. 6.
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said last month that Feng’s rise figured prominently in the tour’s negotiating to bring an LPGA event to China next year. The LPGA’s fall Asian swing will expand to five events in 2013 with the tour preparing to announce a new tournament in Beijing.
“I think in the future, China will become one of the strongest countries in golf,” Feng said after winning the LPGA Championship.
With the combination of Feng’s international ascendance, and the announcement golf will become part of the Olympics in 2016, China has no shortage of motivation to step up its competitive golf programs.
Feng is a student of Gary Gilchrist, whose academy is based at Mission Inn at Howey in the Hills, Fla. At 17, Feng began training under Gilchrist when he was based on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. He caddied for her a year later at Q-School when she became the first player from mainland China to earn LPGA membership.
“I’m the first,” Feng said of becoming the first from China to win a major. “I’m sure there will be a second and third and more. I do want to be a model where all the juniors are trying to beat my stats.”