Bengaluru: Gaurika Bishnoi will attempt to win back-to-back titles and cement her position at the top of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour’s money ranking. The 32-player field is the largest ever in the history of the domestic Hero WPG Tour, surpassing the field of 29 at Clover greens last week.
This week the players will take on the immaculate Prestige Golfshire course. There are 27 professionals, one more than the 26 last week in the seventh leg and there are also five amateurs. The total prize will be the same as in the seventh leg at Rs.10 lakhs, only the second time, after last week, to have such a purse.
“It is a testimony to the growing popularity of women’s golf in India”, said Mrs. Kavita Singh, President of the WGAI. “The growing field is a big boost and we feel we could reach a target of 45-50 in a year or so. We are also aware of the importance of growing the game and give amateurs adequate opportunity.
Gaurika Bishnoi, who has won two of the last three events, has been in great form and wants to consolidate her play before making a bid at a higher level abroad.
This season Gaurika’s worst finish in six starts has been sixth in the second leg, while the last five starts have seen Gaurika win twice, finish runner-up twice and once she was third. That dominant performance has also seen her rise to the top of the Order of Merit with Rs.6,12,800 while Neha Tripathi, who led before the start of the latest swing last week, has Rs.5,56,800.
Another heartening feature of the seventh leg was the string of under par scores, which highlighted the rising quality of play. Last week the top six players shot under par totals and there were no less than 15 under par rounds, including seven in the second round and five on the final day. There were two rounds of 66 each, one by Gursimar Badwal in the first round and by amateur Pranavi Urs on the final day. Gaurika was most consistent with rounds of 71, 70 and 67, while Amandeep Drall also had three under par scores of 71, 71 and 70.
Tee times for Round 1, Leg 08, at Prestige, Golfshire.
8:00 AM: Smriti Mehra, Anisha Padukone;
8:10 AM: Anousha Tripathi, Khushi Khanijau, Astha Madan;
8:20 AM: Gursimar Badwal, Shriya Vivek, Afshan Fatima;
8:30 AM: Ridhima Dilawari, Tvesa Malik, Ivana Shah (A);
8:40 AM: Pranavi Urs (A), Ananya Datar, Sneha Sharan (A);
8:50 AM: Komal Chaudhary, Millie Saroha, Neha Tripathi;
9:00 AM: Ishvari Prasanna, Suchitra Ramesh, Asmitha Sathish (A);
9:10 AM: Gauri Karhade, Mehar Atwal, Hita Prakash;
9:20 AM: Siddhi Kapoor, Tanirika Singh, Shreya Pal (A);
9:30 AM: Jyotsana Singh, Ayesha Kapur, Gaurika Bishnoi;
9:40 AM: Sonam Chugh, Amandeep Drall, Oviya Reddi;