Caroline conquers Indian Open crown

Gurgaon: Caroline Hedwall struck a purple patch in the middle of her round with four straight birdies from the seventh to the tenth holes to win the Hero Women’s Indian Open, her fourth title on the Ladies European Tour in her Rookie Year. The 22-year-old Hedwall fired a final round 69 to triumph at the US $ 300,000 co-sanctioned event here at the DLF Golf & Country Club on Sunday.  The victory, which earned the Swede US $  45,000 (Euro 33,750) in prize money. Hedwall’s tally in her maiden appearance in India stood at 12-under 204.


Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum (70), gunning for her third Hero Indian Open title in four years had to settle for second place and a prize cheque of US $ 30,450 (Euro 22,837.50) after returning a tournament tally of 10-under 206.  Phatlum’s 70 had two bogeys, a three-putt on the ninth and another on 16th and that proved costly for the small-built but ever-smiling Thai golfer. She won the title in 2008 and 2009 and was tied sixth last year.

Welsh golfer Becky Morgan brought in her second successive card of 69 to finish third at eight-under 208.  Morgan got to take home US $ 21,000 (Euro 15,750) for her effort. Morgan, who was tied 10th last year, is still looking for her first win on LET despite finishing in top-5 eight times.

Among the Indians, Sharmila Nicollet returned a card of 68 to finish tied-22nd at one-over 217, while Amateur Gauri Monga finished tied-37th at 221. Kiran Matharu, British golfer of Indian origin, finished tied 10th after rounds of 68, 74 and 71.

The prizes were given away by Pawan Munjal, Managing Director, Hero MotoCorp.

Hedwall who went into the final round with a one-stroke advantage over the field, played steady parring the first four holes.  A bogey on the fifth set her back and actually handed the lead to Pornanong Phatlum who had started her round with a birdie.  However, Hedwall came back strongly to card a hat-trick of birdies on the final three holes of her front-nine and a fourth birdie followed on the tenth.

“The putt on the seventh was pretty long and then on number eight I hit it to about four feet and holed that one. Number nine was about18 feet and number 10, I just hit it so I could tap in for birdie,” said the 22-year old.  She dropped a shot on the 11th bur regained lost ground with a birdie on the 15th. 

“Winning my fourth title in my Rookie year is just incredible. I can’t believe it myself to be honest. It’s been a great year and I’m happy that it’s gone so well.  This week I had a lot of luck on my side and that helped,” said the champion.

Phatlum’s waterloo proved to be the par-5 ninth hole.  Three-on and just five-feet from the pin, sitting pretty for birdie and the 22-year old three-putted to relinquish the lead and eventually the title.

Hedwall pulled alongside the Thai golfer on the seventh and both birdied the eighth to sit side-by-side on the leader-board.  Then came the unfortunate ninth hole.  Thereafter Phatlum couldn’t catch up and with birdies on the 13th and 18th and a bogey on the 16th, finished at second place.

South African Lee-Ann Pace (69-72-68) of South Africa was tied for fourth with Linda Wessberg (Swe) at 209. Nontaya Srisawang (Thailand) and Pernilla Lindberg, the co-leaders on first day finished tied at sixth.

Defending champion Laura Davies had missed the cut.