Wie to spearhead challenge for Dubai Ladies Masters

Michelle Wie settled for tied 12th on five under 283 at the Majlis Course last year. (FILE)

Michelle Wie has signed up with ‘golf in Dubai’ confirming her participation in the forthcoming Omega Dubai Ladies Masters to be held under the patronage of Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the Emirates Golf Club from December 2 to 8.

One of the world’s most marketable athletes, Wie will be making her fourth appearance on the trot in the season-ending Ladies European Tour event where her best finish being a creditable second to fellow LPGA star In-Kyung Kim of South Korea on her debut in 2009.

The 22-year-old Hawaiian, who needed to juggle a career on the LPGA Tour with the demands of pursuing a college degree at Stanford University, racked up a tied fifth despite mounting a serious late charge with a bogey-free 67 in the final round in 2010, and last year she settled for tied 12th on five under 283.

Now that she has officially graduated with a degree in communications from the prestigious university, Wie is looking forward to ending a roller-coaster year on a high.

“Obviously, the goal is to win the tournament.  For that to happen, I need to be on top of my game since they (the organisers) assemble a very strong field each year,” she said ahead of the euro 500,000 (Dh 2.7 million) tournament, promoted and organised by golf in Dubai.

“I'm practicing really hard, but I can't really control all of it. What I can do is to have fun out there and just play the best I can," said Wie, who is an impressive 25-under-par for the 12 rounds she has played at the Majlis course.

"The course is just great. I will just think of hitting fairways and greens, giving myself some birdie opportunities and keeping it in play. I never gave up on myself," said Wie, who is also a brand ambassador for Omega, the title sponsors of the Dubai Ladies Masters.

“It’s so much fun to be in Dubai. There is always something new to look for, always something new to try. It's such an interesting place; it's so mesmerizing, so I'm really happy to be playing in the tournament along side high-competitive Ladies European Tour players,” said Wie, who boasts two victories – the 2009 Lorena Ochoa Invitational and the 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Open -- and numerous top-10 finishes since joining the LPGA Tour in 2009.

Mohamed Buamaim, vice-chairman and CEO of golf in Dubai, said: "We are really delighted to welcome Michelle back in Dubai. She’s is awfully talented and enjoys tremendous fan following in Dubai. It’s no mean achievement that she has graduated from college in four years. That’s pretty impressive to do while pursuing a full time career on the tour. I really admire her work ethic.

"Her presence will further add to the profile of Dubai which has been named as one of the ultimate sporting cities for 2012 by Sports Business International.  We, at golf in Dubai, wish her the very best and hope she has a pleasant stay in Dubai.”

Named in a Time magazine article as "one of 100 people who shape our world," Wie has been building an impressive resume in golf since a young age. At 10, she became the youngest player to qualify for the USGA Women's Amateur Public Links Championship in 2000 and qualified for an LPGA event when she was 12.

A year later, she became the youngest to make a cut. She played in the men's Sony Open when she was 14, demonstrating how exciting and varied a creative life can be.
golf in Dubai' is backed by Omega as the title sponsor and Dubal (Dubai Aluminium) as the sponsor.