GURGAON, India – The battle for the USD $400,000 Hero Women’s Indian Open went down to the wire, and Ladies European Tour (LET) rookie Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen held her nerves to conquer her maiden LET title by a solitary stroke pushing Cheyenne Woods of the USA, Becky Morgan of Wales and Denmark’s Marlene Jorgensen to joint second place. England’s Liz Young ended in fifth spot, with Italian Giulia Sergas in sixth.
Leading Indian amateur Aditi Ashok finished tied-13th, while Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) Order of Merit leader Vani Kapur finished best among the Indian pros at tied 20th position. Two other Indians Saaniya Sharma and Smriti Mehra ended tied 60th and 62nd respectively.
The challenging Gary Player Signature Course at DLF Golf and Country Club, tested the women golfers to the hilt as Pedersen shot a closing 73 to finish at level par 216. While Pedersen clinched the battle, Woods won many hearts with her immaculate display both on and off the field including hosting a golf clinic on the penultimate day sponsored by Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer and biggest supporter of sports in India.
While players had a tough time, Gary Player, the golf course designer, was full praise for his signature layout which was hosting its first professional tournament: “I have enjoyed my “second” career creating courses in new and interesting lands, and India really stands out as a fascinating place to visit. I am very proud of this course, which will truly stand beside any in the world. It is important that I thank DLF and the Singh family for their unwavering commitment to quality.
“We’ve designed several sets of tees to accommodate all levels of golfers. I can assure you that this golf course will test the tour professional from the championship tees. But it is equally if not more important to give the member who lives here options for enjoyment. I believe we have accomplished that.
“The feedback I received was very complimentary. The golfers really enjoyed the course conditions and the challenging layout. I think the bunker style and geo-textile materials used distinguishes this golf course.” Player added.
Coming back to the tournament, Pedersen, who was on her first trip to India, led from the first round to complete a fantastic wire-to-wire victory following a runner-up finish in France where she lost out in a playoff to Celine Herbin at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France last month.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win a tournament on my first trip to India. The Black Knight course was challenging with some interesting holes. My game has been very good, and I kept my composure,” said a delighted Pedersen who received the glittering trophy and winners’ cheque for USD $60,000 from Mr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Hero MotoCorp Ltd.
“I hit some good and bad shots but kept myself in play all the time. I was a bit nervous to begin with, but got better as the round progressed.”
With an overnight one-stroke advantage, Pedersen had a shaky start to her final round as she three putted for a bogey on the opening hole while Woods caught fire with three birdies in her first six holes to take outright lead.
Pedersen had a fantastic opportunity for an eagle on the par-5 eighth hole but two putted from about eight feet for a birdie to get back into a share of the lead at one under. Woods and Pedersen had matching birdies on the 11th, before both dropped a shot on the 14th.
Pedersen pulled one back at the 15th to reach two under. Woods struck a fantastic iron shot up to six feet from the pin on the treacherous Par 4 17th. However her birdie putt just missed the cup. After Pedersen bogeyed 17, Woods was in the joint lead until she double bogeyed the par-5 18th.
“I did not know that I was leading. I got unlucky as my second shot on the 18th hit the cart path and went into the bush. I went back, put it back in play and hit it on the green and two putted for a double bogey. That was probably the only mistake I made on the final day that cost me the title,” said Woods, adding that she had a good week and vowed to come back next year.
Much was expected from the Indian contingent. Leading Indian amateur Aditi Ashok who was tied 11th going in to the final round had a disappointing day. The Bangalore golfer mixed three birdies with four bogeys and two double bogeys for a five over 77 to finish tied-13th at 225. Vani Kapur, playing on her home course, looked set for a top ten finish. However, a bogey on the 17th and a triple bogey on the 18th put paid to her chances as she closed with a three over 75, and a tie for 20th overall at 227.
The tournament witnessed Hero MotoCorp as the Title sponsor, while DLF donned the mantle of Presenting sponsor. The event, tri-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour, the Ladies Asian Golf Tour and the Women’s Golf Association of India, featured 114 players from 31 countries, and was also supported by Incredible India (Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India) and powered by YES Bank.
Leading Scores: Hero Women’s Indian Open 2015
216: Emily Kristie Pedersen (Den) 70-73-73
217: Cheyenne Woods (USA) 77-69-71; Becky Morgan (Wal) 73-71-73; Marlene Jorgensen (Den) 73-72-72
218: Liz Young (Eng) 73-73-72
220: Giulia Sergas (Ita) 71-76-73
221: Tanaporn Kongkiatkrai (Tha) 77-71-73
222: Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul (Tha) 75-73-74
222: Ursula Wikstrom (Fin) 73-73-76
223: Sarah Kemp (Aus) 76-76-71
225 (T13): Aditi Ashok 75-73-77
227 (T20): Vani Kapur 79 – 73- 75
237 (T60): Saaniya Sharma 79-75-83
239 (62): Smriti Mehra 77-79-83