New Delhi: Gwladys Nocera overcame a slight blip in form to card a score of one-under 72 on the final day for a three day total of 11-under 208, which was enough for the French golfer to win the US$ 300,000 Hero Women’s Indian Open 2014, tri-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET), the Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) and the Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) here at the Delhi Golf Club on Thursday.
India’s Vaishavi Sinha, who was in sole second spot after two rounds, suffered a meltdown on the 18th hole in which she double bogied to slip to sole fifth place on the final leaderboard.
For her second win in India, Nocera had to work hard on the final day to win the glittering trophy and the winner’s cheque of US $45,000. The first one came in 2007 in the Emmar-MGF Ladies Masters. The number two ranked golfer on the 2014 LET Order of Merit started the day on a positive note when she birdied the second hole. But two bogies on the fifth and ninth holes blemished her card on the front nine. Nocera picked up her game on the back nine by birding the 11th, 12th and 17th holes against one bogie on the 15th hole.
Despite having an indifferent day by her usually high standards, Nocera had banked enough in the two previous rounds for her to sail home safely without much of a threat from the chasing pack. “It’s always good to win, I love it, and it’s nice to win in India for a second time, so I’m really pleased. It worked out really well the first day and after that I tried to play my game and that’s it. I got nervous, or a little bit frustrated, about my putting. I stayed patient and it paid off. I love coming here, it’s always on my schedule. India is a beautiful country and people are really nice and that’s why I enjoy coming here. I have a tendency to play well because I feel comfortable,” said the beaming winner of Hero Women’s Indian Open.
Sinha, who eschewed risks in the decisive round, looked set to finish as a worthy runner-up in India’s most prestigious women’s golf tournament, but on the 18th hole, she pulled out the driver in her quest to find a few extra yards, but only managed to hit the ball off the tee into the bushes. A failed recovery with her second stroke meant she was staring down the barrel. In the end she needed two extra putts to complete the par five hole. Her third round card of three over pulled down her overnight score of eight-under to five-under.
“I hit my drive so hard. I tried to hit it at like 200 per cent. I think because people were watching and I wanted to hit it far. It’s a par five, so you want to be two on, and there was no reason to hit it hard. So it was a mental aspect and not physical. I hit the bushes right, then barely out, then out, then to the green and three putts. I missed like eight or nine birdie putts,” said Vaishavi Sinha
Her final result notwithstanding, Sinha earned a lot of accolades for her performance in the tournament, including from her rivals. “She is a very steady player and has a good all-round game. I think Vaishavi has the potential to become a good ambassador of ladies golf in India,” said Nocera, complementing her rival.
The big gainers in the third round were Fabienne In-Albon, Hyeon Seo Kang and Hannah Burke. Both In-Albon and Kang carded four-under, while Burke returned a score of two-under to finish with a three-day total of six-under that put the trio in tied second.
India’s Gauri Monga, too had a good outing. She finished in tied eight with a three-day total of 217. Aditi Ashok was the best amateur this year with a final round score of three under 70 and a total of 219 that helped her to finish in tied 13th place.
Leading final round scores
208: Norcera Gwladys (Fra) 64-72-72
213: Kang Hyeon-seo (Kor) 72-72-69; In-Albon Fabienne (Swi) 71-73-69; Burke Hannah (Eng) 71-71-69.
214: Sinha, Vaishavi (Ind) 67-71-76
216: Titiya Plucksataporn (Tha) 71-74-71; Holly Clyburn (Eng) 67-75-74
217: Holly Aitchison (Eng) 75-72-70; Gauri Monga (Ind) 70-76-71; Phumpunbamrung Punpaka (Tha) 75-71-71