South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim will be aiming to match Annika Sorenstam’s feat of back-to-back victories when she returns to defend her title at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters at the Emirates Golf Club from December 6 to 11.
The world number seven is riding high following her stunning victory at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico on Sunday, but she is well aware of the enormity of her task in trying to achieve the milestone.
“With so many big names in the field, it would require extra effort to succeed,” said Kim ahead of the euro 500,000 season-ending Ladies European Tour event.
The talented Korean flashed glimpses her fighting qualities when she beat off a strong challenge from American sensation Michelle Wie to make a winning debut in Dubai last year.
The duo will renew their rivalry when they join a strong field led by Laura Davies and Lee-Anne Pace, the multiple winners on the Ladies European Tour this season.
Britain’s all-time great Davies and South Africa’s Pace are, are locked in an intense battle for the European Number One title with five wins each under their belt, and both could pose a serious threat to Kim’s ambitions.
“Certainly, they will be the players to beat, but then there are many talented girls on the European Tour, who on their day can produce winning scores. All I know I have to be at the top of my game if I aim to retain the title,” said the LPGA star, who has posted one win and 10 top-10 finishes this season.
If Kim, who turned 22 in June, manages to win, she will equal Sorenstam’s record of successive wins the ‘Super Swede’ recorded in 2006 and 2007.
The genial South Korean sounded a warning to her rivals when she fired an eight-under 64 on Sunday to win the Lorena Ochoa Invitational for her third title on the LPGA Tour. She finished the tournament at 19-under 269, three strokes ahead of third-round leader Suzann Pettersen.
The winner of the 2008 Longs Drugs Challenge and last year’s State Farm LPGA Classic, Kim is also assured of the Ryder Cup Wales Rookies of the Year award, having moved well ahead of second-placed Maria Hernandez of Spain in the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit for the current season.
“We look forward to welcoming our defending champion. She is a great talent and it will be a treat to watch her graceful swing. With her victory last year, she has won many friends in Dubai and I think they will turn up in large numbers to cheer her up. I wish her and all other players in the field a pleasant stay in Dubai,” said Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice-chairman and CEO of golf in Dubai – the promoters and organisers of the event.