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Golf: Christine Wolf wins Hero Women's Indian Open, Anika Verma finishes fifth
Gurugram, October 6, 2019
Teenager Anika Verma hogged the spotlight finishing a creditable fifth in a very strong field as Australian Christine Wolf buried the ghosts of the past with a bogey-free final round to clinch the Hero Women’s Indian Open for her maiden Ladies European Tour title at the DLF Golf and Country Club here on Sunday.
The HWIO and the DLF Golf and Country Club are becoming a happy hunting ground for first-time winners. Following Welsh veteran Becky Morgan’s breakthrough win after 19 long years on the Ladies European Tour in 2018, it was the 30-year-old Austrian Wolf’s turn as she grabbed her first title after six years on the Tour.
Wolf showed no nervousness on the final day as she delivered a commanding bogey-free final round of 69 to total 11-under 277 and win with rounds of 73, 68, 67 and 69. She finished three shots ahead of Marianne Skarpnord (70 and eight-under) and four ahead of MacLaren (72 and seven-under). Whitney Hillier, the halfway co-leader, shot 72 and was sole fourth at six-under.
Indians had a lot to cheer for as well, with a strong display from top amateur Anika Varma, who finished in fifth place with a 3-under par aggregate of 285 and a final day card of two-under 70.
The 15-year-old Anika was one shot ahead of best-placed home professional Tvesa Malik, who was tied sixth at one-under 287. A year ago, Tvesa had finished as the best home golfer at tied-13th alongside Gaurika Bishnoi, so Sunday’s result was significant progress for the LET rookie as well.
Among other Indians, Astha Madan (70 and 2-over 290) was Tied-19th, Vani Kapoor (75 and 3-over 291) was T-21st, Diksha Dagar (74 and 7-over 295) was Tied-32nd, Amandeep Drall (78 and 9-over 297) was T-37th, amateur Pranavi Urs (75 and 11-over 299) and Gaurika Bishnoi (77 and 11-over 299) were Tied-47th, amateur Jahnavi Bakshi (76 and 14-over 302) was Tied-57th and another amateur Seher Atwal (79 and 16-over 304) was Tied-61st.
“I was pretty nervous in the beginning but as soon as I hit my first tee shot I felt fine. I had a good group (with Sweden’s Emma Nilsson and Manon De Roey of Belgium) today and I enjoyed playing with them. That helped me play well too." she said.
“I was pretty consistent today, just had one double (bogey) on the 16th. Before that, I was doing pretty good and I didn’t miss a single regulation before the 16th hole, I think only that one and the 18th, which was the highlight of my day.”
Tvesa said, “I think it was a little bit more of a struggle but I am happy with my overall performance for the week. I think I am happy with my game and the way I handled the pressure on the course, so I’m quite pleased overall."
“I missed a lot of putts so that wasn’t a great part of my game. On the 18th hole, I definitely wasn’t expecting that to happen at all (chip-in from off the green) so I’m glad I could make a birdie from there." she added.
Last year, Wolf fumbled twice. First on the third day while being well ahead and on the final day, when she was tied for the lead. She shot a quadruple bogey on the third day and a double bogey on the final day and finished Tied-second allowing Morgan to grab the title. This time, there was to be no such error.
Forgotten were the memories of a hole that had cost her eight shots over the week last year. As on Saturday, Wolf sent her third shot sailing on to the green and calmly two-putted for the $75,000 winner’s cheque and a maiden Tour trophy which she received from Hero MotoCorp Chairman Pawan Munjal.
“I’m super happy obviously with this first LET win, but also that I did it here,” said a beaming Wolf. “Everyone knew of last year’s drama coming into the week here so to win by three shots was very nice. But you can’t get ahead of yourself in golf and I was obviously a little nervous.”
In fact, from Saturday itself it was evident that the Austrian would be the one to beat in the closing stages and so it turned out as Wolf picked up early momentum to gain three shots in her front nine and never let the advantage go with a clean back nine for a 3-under round of 69 and an 11-under par aggregate of 277.
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