Simi, youngsters take on foreign challenge at DLF Women’s Open

February 24th, 2009 - 11:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Gurgaon, Feb 24 (IANS) Seasoned Simi Mehra and a bunch of youngsters lead the Indian brigade at the third DLF Women’s Indian Open where defending champion Phatlum Pornanong and last week’s runner-up Kim Hae Jung of Korea present the strong foreign challenge.
After being edged in a three-way playoff last week including winner Sattayabanphot, Onnarin and Lee, Eun Kyoung at the Thailand Ladies Open, Korea’s Kim, Hae Jung is hoping to clinch the $120,000 DLF Indian Women’s Open at the DLF Golf and Country Club beginning Wednesday.

Simi does not want to put a number where she will finish, but said, “I am strong, I am fit. I’m in high spirits and I know the expectations are high from the locals here. No way, it’s a pressure on me. I’ve enough experience to handle this kind of situation,” she said.

Having earned a card to play on the Ladies European Tour this season and a conditional card to play in the USLPGA, Simi has no choice but to give a good account of herself - both for Indian golf fans and for her season in the US and Europe this year.

“I need to cut down on mistakes and hasty shots. Made a lot of birdies n Bangkok last week but also dropped a lot due to lapse in concentration by making erroneous shots,” said Simi.

Kim, the highest ranked among the 10 Koreans taking part in the Women’s Indian Open, said it had been three years, since she last won a title - Zhuhai Women’s Open 2006.

“Though I played well in most tournaments that I participated in since my last win, I came close to winning it last week in Bangkok. Now I’m ready to pocket the winner’s purse here” said Kim.

Kim however, will tee-off tomorrow in the same group comprising home favourite Mehra, Smriti and defending champion Phatlum, Pornanong of Thailand.

“I’ve already played two rounds in the DLF course and the layout suits my kind of play. I had a good week with the driver, irons and putter in Bangkok last week and now I hope to carry this forward to this week here.

“It’s a superb course and my challenge is not against Simi or Pornanong, but it’s goin to be against this course,” she said, adding that the strong field here is among the factors that s giving her the extra urge to go for a kill.

The pint-sized Pornanong starts as the defending champion.

“No! I feel good to play wearing the ‘crown’. I want to keep on wearing this crown for another year,” said the defending champion who has returned to defend it. I’m not prepared to lose defending the two titles I won last year - Bangkok and Gurgaon. I’ve already failed to defend it in Bangkok last week and I’m not prepared to let go the Women’s Indian Open title. I hope I can retain my title,” she said.

“I feel all winners should come back to defend their title, unless they have commitments elsewhere,” said Pornanong who finished tied 17th in Bangkok.

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