Smriti clinches title at Hero Women's Pro golf

Smriti clinches title at Hero Women`s Pro golf Bangalore: Smriti Mehra turned in a stunning finish with five birdies in the last five holes to overhaul young Sharmila Nicollet on the homestretch and win the second leg of the Hero Women's Professional Golf Tour at the Eagleton Golf Resort Thursday.

With five birdies in a row, Smriti turned three-shot deficit into a two-shot lead and Sharmila was left stranded.

Smriti, who tied with Sharmila in second spot last week, went one better with a superb card of five-under 67 and opened her title count for the season with a total of 206. She finished two better than Sharmila, who had a final day's card of 71 and a total of 208.

Smriti began the day two behind Sharmila and the two along with Nalini Singh Siwach formed the lead group on the final day.

At the end of the front nine, Sharmila was still two ahead as both Smriti and Sharmila had an even par 36 for the stretch. Smriti had one birdie on the par-5 sixth and a bogey on par-4 eighth. Sharmila had birdies on par-5 first and par-5 sixth but she also dropped shots on second and ninth.

Then it was Sharmila who increased the lead to three with a birdie on the 10th. The gap stayed as such till the end of the 13th hole. Then began the big turnaround. Sharmila did not play badly, in fact she parred the last five holes, but Smriti had five birdies and the tables turned.

Nalini Singh Siwach (69) was third at 210 and Neha Tripathi (70) and amateur Aditi Ashok tied for fifth spot. Interestingly, Neha and Aditi had gone into a play-off for the title last week before former won the first leg.

Siwach had five birdies and two bogeys in her 69, while Neha had four birdies and two bogeys in her 70. The 13-year-old amateur Aditi Ashok, who has held her own among senior pros, had four birdies and three bogeys in her 71.

Apart from Smriti's birdie run, the highlight of the day came from Meghna Bal who shot the first hole-in-one of the season as she found the target with her tee shot on the 128-yard par-3 17th.

She totaled 72, the best card for her this week, as she ended at 225 in sixth place.

This was the end of the second of the three legs in and around Bangalore with a total purse of Rs 8.5 lakhs. The three events form the start the of the season which will see a record 15 events over the next eight months. The Tour this season will have a minimum of Rs 42 lakhs at stake during the period.

The final leg of the Southern Swing of the Hero Women's Pro Golf Tour will be held at Clover Greens here from August 29 to September 1.