Amateur Monga leads five Indians into final round

Gurgoan: Amateur Gauri Monga, who plans to take a break from golf to focus on school examinations was the best among the five Indians who made the cut after the second round in the fifth Hero Women’s Indian Open on Saturday. Monga, the reigning all India Amateur champion, who will not be defending her title next week added a second round 72 to her first round 75 to be tied 37th.

The other four Indians making the cut were on the cut line at five-over 149. The four included yet another amateur Vani Kapoor, the current leader on the IGU Order of Merit for amateur women, and three professionals, Smriti Mehra, Sharmila Nicollet and Neha Tripathi.

National amateur champion Gauri Monga played very steady golf with 11 straight pars after starting from the tenth. She then had birdies on third and sixth and bogeys on fifth and seventh. “I played quite steady with a series of pars. My two bogeys were disappointing. I went to the right on fifth and missed and up and down and on seventh I went into the trees,” said Monga, who is now going to take some time off from golf to focus on her school examinations.

Smriti Mehra who brought in a card of 77 today nearly missed the bus with a triple bogey finish to her round.  “I hit the ball really solid today as a result of which, my approach shot on the ninth flew over the green and went out of bounds,” she said.  “My putting, especially the left to right putts have caused me concern all week.  I plan to rectify this aspect and record a creditable finish tomorrow,” added Smriti.

Sharmila, money leader on Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour of India, said, “My short game, essentially putting and approach shots let me down today. I made as many as five three-putts and one four-putt.  That is criminal at this level.  Luckily I made the cut.  Honestly I can’t feel any pressure.  I aim to tee it up tomorrow with the sole aim of carding a top-ten finish.”

Neha, who is maturing into a fine player, had an up-and-down day after a steady 72 in the first round. Starting on the tenth, she double bogeyed the 11th and bogeyed the 13th. A birdie on the 15th brought her to two-over for the day, which was sure of making the cut. On the back nine, the front side of the course, she bogeyed the second and the seventh. The ninth, her closing hole, was again a bogey and she dropped to five-over, but she squeezed. “That was a relief. I left a lot of putts short. But let’s see tomorrow. I want to make up,” she said with a smile.