New Delhi: Local school girl Diksha Dagar gave it all but the rub of the green and an experienced opponent from Malaysia stopped her quest for the USHA 100th All India Ladies Amateur title one step short of the summit.
The scores at the end of the 36-hole final show that the 21-year-old Nur Damiyan of Malaysia beat Diksha 7&5 on the 31st hole, but in reality the match was far closer, at least in the morning session and then again, the Indian did put up a fight but no avail.
Also on Sunday, Ireland’s Maria Dunne beat Tsai Wei Chia of Chinese Taipei 3&2 in the clash for the third place.
The prizes were given away by Hon'ble Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, Vijay Goel and Siddharth Shriram, President of Delhi Golf Club and Promoter, USHA International, in the presence of Indian sports icon Saina Nehwal.
Both the finalists, Nur and Diksha were visibly tired by the closing stages of the match that was spread over two sessions and 36 holes. But for at least the first 15 holes of the morning session, both displayed excellent golf.
Diksha, a student of Mount St.Mary’s School in New Delhi, has been in great form and in the initial stages of the match, she gave a more experienced and fancied Nur a run for her money. Diksha, who has a hearing impairment and has been using a hearing aid since the age of six, has won four of the eight tournaments she has played in India this season and also played four other events outside India.
“Though I lost, it was a great experience. Today was not my day, many times things just did not go my way and I had a lot of lip-outs. Also, Nur played very well and came up with brilliant shots at a crucial time,” said the gracious and very generous Diksha.
Nur for her part said, “I enjoyed my visit and am thankful to Delhi Golf Club and the Indian Golf Union and the sponsors. Diksha played very well and she is young and will do well in her career.”
It was Nur who went into the lead at the second, but back-to-back birdies by Diksha saw the Indian take the lead. But then the Malaysian fought back with a long birdie on fifth. By the eighth hole, both girls had birdied three times each and were neck and neck.
Thereafter slowly but steadily, Nur started pulling away. She won the 10th as Diksha went into the bushes and on the 11th the Malaysian looked in trouble as she went into the bunker and had a difficult lie. But she came up with a brilliant shot which landed within five feet and she holed it for a birdie, while Diksha failed to get her 20-foot downhill putt in for a similar birdie.
Once again on 13th, Nur saved a par with an excellent up-and-down, while Diksha missed a birdie and the hole was halved. “Those two holes may have been the turning point,” said Diksha, as her father, Narender Dagar agreed.
Then again on the 16th Nur had a slice of luck. Both girls found the tree off the tee, but Nur’s ball rolled towards the green and Diksha’s ball ricocheted the other way. That gave Nur the hole. On 17th Diksha over-clubbed and went over the green and once again Nur won the hole to go three-up. Diksha by now was trying too hard and on the 18th her tee shot kicked and ran into thick bushes. That took Nur 4-up for the first 18th.
Though Diksha kept up the fight in the second session and reduced the margin to three, the Malaysian, stayed steady with her main aim being to find the fairways and keep the ball in play. She succeeded in that while Diksha, playing catch-up, made mistakes. A couple of more mistakes and Nur was soon the winner at 7&5 to become the champion.