Gauri ends title drought by winning Usha Southern India golf

Bengaluru: Gauri Monga beat back a strong challenge from in-form Gurbani Singh to held on to her narrow lead and win the Usha IGU Southern India Ladies golf tournament title on the final day here on Wednesday.

Gauri carded a 73 to total three-over 219 and Gurbani (71) aggregated 220. It was Gauri`s first title in almost two years. The winners were presented with the trophies by Ashwini Nachappa, former national champion sprinter and Arjuna Awardee.

Gauri, who has benefited from her appearances in Usha-IGU events over the past few years, has had a chequered career, which seemed to be taking off with her win at All India Ladies in 2010-11, when she also topped Order of Merit.

But then a suspension by IGU cost her an Asian Games appearance and then her school-leaving examinations put a break on her career. Now she seems to have picked up again following a third place last week at Usha Karnataka Ladies and now finally a win.

The win also made up for her second place finish behind Gurbani at the same event last year.

Gauri began the day one shot clear of Gursimar Badwal (76) and Tvesa Malik (75). But the latter two fell back even as Gurbani made a charge. Three behind Gauri at the start of the day, she came within one shot by the 11th.

Both had carded one-under front nines and then Gauri bogeyed the 10th and Gurbani birdied the 11th. Gauri birdied the 15th and bogeyed the 16th as the gap stayed in her favour by one. A bogey by Gurbani on 17th put her back by two and despite a closing bogey by a tense Gauri, she pulled off a great win by one shot.

Astha Madan, the first round leader crept up to third place with a final round of 73 for a total of 221, while Tvesa Malik was fourth at 222.

Gursimar Badwal was fifth at 223 and Raksha Phadke was sixth at 226. Aditi Ashok, second in the last two events, was seventh despite a day`s best 71 and she totaled 227. In Category A, Gurbani was first at 220, with Astha Madan and Tvesa Malik second and third.