Amateur Nishna Patel holds nerve to birdie final hole and win first leg of 2024 Hero WPGT

NishnaPune: Amateur Nishna Patel held her nerves in the closing stages of the first leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Poona Club Golf Course and won by one shot over Sneha Singh and Hitaashee Bakshi.

Nishna closed a memorable win on the Hero Pro Tour with a fine birdie on the 18th for a round of 1-under 70 and totalled 6-under 207 as Sneha (67) and Hitaashee (69) were stranded one shot behind at 5-under 208 at the Par-71 course.

Nishna, who had Hitaashee and Sneha for company in the lead group, began the day with a two-shot lead over Hitaashee and four over Sneha.

Yet, it was the 2023 Hero Order of Merit winner, Sneha who made the big charge. She seemed to be running away as she opened the day with three birdies in a row. She added a fourth birdie on the fifth hole and a fifth birdie on the ninth to turn in 5-under 30.

Nishna with one birdie and one bogey on the front nine was suddenly one shot behind Sneha, who then stretched the lead to two shots with a sixth birdie of the day on the 11th.

Nishna hung in courageously and birdied the 12th to reduce the gap to one. It stayed like that till the end of the 16th, which was bogeyed by all three players in the lead group.

With two holes to go, Sneha faltered with a bogey on the 17th, which Nishna parred and the two were now level. On the 18th, Nishna found a birdie and Sneha managed only a par. Hitaashee had a chance to force a play-off, but she failed to find a birdie on the two closing holes and ended in a tie for second with Sneha.

That gave Nishna a well-deserved maiden title on the pro circuit, while still being an amateur. Nishna kept up the tradition of at least one win by an amateur every year since 2017.

Another amateur, Mannat Brar (70) finished in a tie for fourth with Seher Atwal (71) at even par 213.

Amandeep Drall finally found an under par round with a 2-under 69 and moved to a respectable sixth place at 3-over 216, while Ananya Datar (75) was seventh.

Jasmine Shekar (75), Ananya Garg (75) and Khushi Khanijau (78) were tied for eighth at 8-over 221.

Neha Tripathi (71) and Rhea Jha (76) were tied for the 11th place.

The second leg will be held at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club (BPGC) from January 16 to 18.