Noida: Vani Kapoor held her nerve in a tense situation and grabbed the four-decade old Usha Northern India Ladies title over Gurbani Singh in an exciting finish at the NOIDA Golf Club on Thursday.
Vani shot 77 after first two rounds of 75 each to total 227, while Gurbani carded a third successive 76 and ended at 228. Aditi Ashok (74) was third with 229. Mehar Atwal (74) and Raksha Phadke (79) were tied fifth at 236.
The experienced Vani, who seemed to have thrown away the two-shot overnight advantage on the back nine on the final day, stayed calm despite a double bogey on 15th.
She then benefitted as Gurbani dropped bogeys on 16th and 18th and she herself birdied one and bogeyed the last. So Gurbani, one ahead after the 15th, found herself one behind after the 18th and lost the title despite a great fight.
A further one shot behind in third place was Aditi Ashok, who finally found form with a 74.
Gursimar Badwal (239) was sixth and Amardeep Drall (73) was seventh with 242.
The win for Vani will be a big boost in her quest to win the Order of Merit on the IGU Circuit and it is also her second title on the amateur circuit this season. She had also won a pro event ahead of the leading pros, despite being an amateur.
The scene now shifts to Usha DGC Ladies Open, which will be held from November 22 to 24 and all the top amateurs, including the top six from the Northern India are expected to tee off.
Vani had two birdies in first three holes but two later meant she turned in even par. She had three successive bogeys from 11th to 13th and then a double on 15th as Gurbani moved ahead. But pars on 16th and 18th and a good birdie on 17th gave her a chance as Gurbani faltered in the end.
Winner of the Sri Lankan Amateur Open Gurbani had two bogeys and one birdie on front nine and three bogeys on back nine in her 76.
Aditi Ashok, champion at Malaysian open juniors, had one birdie and three bogeys in her round of two-over.
Raksha Phadke (79) faltered on the final day, while Mehar Atwal (74) made up for her earlier rounds of 78 and 77.
This was the third major regional event sponsored by Usha, who are also sponsoring the All India Ladies Amateur in Chandigarh in December and the Eastern India later.