Women’s Indian Open Golf from Wednesday

February 23rd, 2009 - 8:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Gurgaon, Feb 23 (IANS) Defending champion Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum will be among the leading women golfers from Asia and Europe to tee off in the DLF Women’s Indian Open at the DLF Golf and Country Club here Wednesday.
The Indian challenge in the third edition of the event will be led by Smriti Mehra, Tanya Wadhwa and Nalini Singh.

Smriti, the first Indian to qualify for the prestigious Ladies PGA Tour in 1998, is riding high on form. Last season she recovered from a surgery and finished a creditable seventh on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) and would be aiming for her first Indian Open title.

“I am keenly looking forward to competing at the DLF Women’s Indian Open,” said Smriti, who was seventh on the LAGT Money List with prize money earnings of $23,208.

“I won’t be able to rest in peace after I retire if I don’t win the Indian Open. A win at her National Open is one that any golfer would want under her belt and I am going for nothing short of gold this time,” she said Monday.

Phatlum who skyrocketed to fame last year when she recorded back-to-back triumphs at the Thailand Ladies Open and here would be the top international draw. She finished the season at second position on the Money List with earnings of $43,620.

India’s only LAGT event will offer a prize money of $120,000. The format of the event will witness the cut being applied after two days with the top 50 golfers plus ties making it to the final round in the field of 66 players.

“The event has attracted terrific response and interest in the Asian golfing community consistently. In a very short span of time, it has become a sought after event for the Asian golfers.”

Champika Sayal, secretary general of Women’s Golf Association of India, said the sport is coming up in India.

“Our girls are doing well. Four of them played in the Thai Open last week and competed against a strong international field. There are some exciting new talent like 13-year-old Gurbani Singh who won the All India Ladies Amateur championship. The sport will grow in India in coming years.”

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