Amandeep and Vani confident of a good show at Hero Women’s Indian Open 2016

Amandeep Drall at the Hero ChallengeGurgaon: While the top stars have their eyes set on the glittering trophy of the Hero Women’s Indian Open, the Indian contingent led by Amandeep Drall and Vani Kapoor will be keen to keep the title at home as the country's only Ladies European Tour (LET) golf tournament tees off at the DLF Golf and Country Club here on Friday.

The flagship event - co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET) and the Women's Golf Association of India (WGAI), featuring 114 professionals from around the globe, is yet to see an Indian claim the coveted title. However, a strong Indian contingent of 17 players seems eager to rewrite history. Both Amandeep Drall and Vani Kapoor are in good form and are expected to hold their own in a star studded field including the likes of LPGA star Brittany Lincicome, LET Order of Merit leader Beth Allen and defending Champion Emily Pedersen.

Amandeep currently leads the Hero Order of Merit with total earnings of INR 10,61,534 with four victories in 12 appearances this season. She would also like to draw inspiration from the fact that she won the last domestic Tour event at the same venue last month. She said, “It was good to get some practice before the Indian Open.” She further added, “It is a big advantage that we are playing in home conditions and I am confident coming into the tournament and will try my best to get good scores.”

Vani has claimed six titles on the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour and is currently placed second in the money list with total earnings on INR 10,21,150 in 12 outings. She also finished tied fifth in the Hong Kong Ladies Open. She will be playing on her home course and will have local support throughout the tournament. She is pleased with her form and wants to keep it simple during the event. She said, “I have happy with my form and it is an advantage to play on your home course but I don’t want to think too much about it. I just want to enjoy myself during the game and don’t want to get ahead of myself.”

Meanwhile, the stars of the Hero Women’s Indian Open went head-to-head under floodlights in ‘The Hero Challenge’ – an innovative shoot-out from 102 yards on a specially constructed par-3 on the 18th hole on Wednesday evening.

Featuring eight top players in seven head-to-head knockout matches, the event literally fired up the evening with a spectacular display of lights and music on the 18th green.

The eight-woman field included the defending champion Emily Kristine Pedersen, former event champions Gwladys Nocera and Caroline Hedwall, current Ladies European Tour No.1 Beth Allen, Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) No.1 Amandeep Drall, Brittany Lincicome, Carly Booth and Paula Hurtado.

In the end, a gripping final between Allen and Hurtado saw Allen named the champion and collect a first prize of 2000 USD. Beth said: “It was really cool, something different and I think all the girls enjoyed it. It was nice to get a little bonus!”