A consistent Aditi Ashok brought home a third successive two-under 70 in the third and final round to sign off Tied-third in the season-ending Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.
The young Indian golfer finished six-under at the Emirates Golf Club alongwith England’s Florentyna Parker and sealed Rookie of the Year honours.
“It was pretty solid. I actually didn’t start very well today. I started, I was plus one in the first four holes but in the first four, all four were actually birdie-able with the tailwind,” said Ashok, who finished second on the overall Rankings behind topper Beth Allen.
“So I didn’t really make use of that. I made a par on No. 3, which is playing one shot under compared to the field. That was not so good, but it was better after, the back nine, especially.
“I shot 2-under on the back nine. I’m happy. I shot 2-under three days in a row. I feel it was consistent but it could have been better. But there’s always something you can do better every week. So it’s fine. I think I’m tied third right now, so I’m happy with that.”
Aditi’s chances of an incredible hat-trick of titles were thwarted by a rampant Shanshan Feng, who after starting the day five behind the leader, had six birdies in first 10 holes and sizzled with an eight-under 64 to claim her fourth Omega Dubai Ladies Masters title inside five years as she once again mastered the Majlis Course.
This was Aditi’s seventh top-10 finish in eight starts, and it included two wins at Hero Women’s Indian Open and Qatar Ladies in successive weeks for a sensational rookie year, in which she also gained membership to LPGA in US.
A run of six birdies in her first 10 holes took Shanshan, the world number four to within one stroke of the lead, held by the overnight leader Felicity Johnson. Another three straight birdies from the ninth gave her a one stroke advantage and it was effectively all over when she made an eighth birdie on the 14th hole.
“I’m really happy that I actually brought out my A Game today,” said Feng, who first won the title in 2012, and then three times consecutively from 2014.
“I knew that it was going to be windy today and I knew that playing in the wind is one of my strongest parts. So even though I was five behind, but you know, in the morning, I always thought that maybe I would still have a chance to win this week and I tried my best. 8-under was a pretty good score.”
Feng won with a tournament record 21-under-par for 72 holes in 2015, but the 2016 event was cut to 54 holes in honour of caddie Maximilian Zechmann, who collapsed and died early in the first round.
She had rounds of 72, 70 and 64 for a total of 10-under-par ensured a two stroke victory over England’s Charley Hull (65).
For Feng, this was her seventh Ladies European Tour victory and her fourth title of the season, following the Buick Championship, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia and TOTO Japan Classic, as well as Olympic Bronze at Rio 2016.