Lee-Anne all geared up for Women’s Indian Open golf

November 10th, 2010 - 8:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Gurgaon, Nov 10 (IANS) South African Lee-Ann Pace would be looking to win this week’s $300,000 Hero Honda Women’s Indian Open at the DLF Golf and Country Club here beginning Thursday and cap her wonderful journey to the East.

It’s been a great Asian journey for Pace, who in three starts before this week has won twice and finished seventh once.

The genial Mossel Bay golfer has been in great form. “I have liked what I saw at the DLF Golf Country Club. I am looking forward to the tournament,” she said of the event which is jointly sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and Ladies Asian Golf Tour.

To show how determined she is this week, she piloted her team of Robert Vadra, Sanya Sharma, Sanjeev Laroiya to victory in the morning Pro-Am Wednesday. “That’s a great start to the week,” she gushed after picking up her prize.

Lee-Anne is paired with Clare Choi of Australia and Indian amateur Gauri Monga.

Meanwhile, England’s Laura Davies has been through a tense two days. Her clubs have gone missing, but India’s golf ‘ambassador’ Smriti ‘Simi’ Mehra, managed to persuade the veteran campaigner to stay on and play the event. She is paired with defending champion Phatlum Pornanong and India’s Sharmila Nicollet.

Davies, who arrived Monday to compete in the event, is obviously upset that her golf bag went missing and spent the last 48 hours without golf equipment and even had to miss Wednesday’s Pro-Am.

But Simi has promised to get Laura a good set, similar to her own, and that has assured the English lady to have a go at the title, which will narrow the gap between her and the Order of Merit leader, Lee-Anne.

A modest Simi, however, did not wish to be carried away by her noble deeds. “All I can say is that Laura (Davies) will be playing tomorrow.”

Defending champion, the 20-year-old Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand is on a mission to go for a hat-trick of titles here after winning the past two years in 2008 and 2009.

“When I saw the draw this afternoon, I felt very happy to see myself in the same group as Laura. This will definitely help me in my bid to go for a hat-trick as I am confident of shooting a low score especially playing alongside Laura,” said Phatlum who is also seeking for her fifth title on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour.

She first won the Hong Kong Ladies Master in 2006 as an amateur, then the Thailand Ladies Open in 2008 and DLF Women’s Indian Open also in 2008. Last year she successfully defended the title in India again.

“I used to read a lot about Laura and admire her play. She hits really long and I used to dream of playing with her. So tomorrow, that dream comes true for me and I’ll cherish it.”

Meanwhile, Asia beat Europe 3-1 in the Skills Challenge. The Asian team comprised defending champion, Phatlum Pornanong, Simi, Sharmila and Saaniya Sharma, while the European foursome was Lee-Anne, Helen Alfredsson, Maria Verechnova and Vikki Laing.

The Asians won the long drive, putting and bunker shot, while the European team won its solitary point in the pitch shot.

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