Indians bank on home advantage at Hero Women`s Indian Open

PTI| Updated: Nov 26, 2013, 19:37 PM IST

New Delhi: Indian women golfers, led by seasoned Sharmila Nicollet, will bank on home advantage when they prepare to mount a strong challenge in the USD 300,000 Hero Women`s Indian Open 2013, which commences with the Pro-Am from Wednesday.

It will followed by the three-day main stroke-play tournament from November 28 to 30 here at the Delhi Golf Club. Stating that playing at the DGC would certainly be an advantage for the Indians, Nicollet said she was aiming for a top-10 finish. "Playing here will definitely be an advantage. It is going to give an edge. Though, there is a lot of buzz and expectations," said Nicollet. "I am aiming for a top 10 finish," she added.

Delhi golfer Vani Kapoor added: "The crowd will be cheering for us and that will definitely be an advantage." Order of Merit leader Neha Tripathi, who has won a tournament in October here at the DGC, said she was confident of doing well. "Everyone`s expecting a lot from us so that could add to the pressure. Since I have done well here, I am pretty confident. It will be a good learning experience playing along side some of the top golfers," she said.

Talking about the course, Neha said, "The course is playing very well. The fairways are good and greens are also fine. The key will be to keep the ball in the fairway.

But Neha added since the grass has been cut the course has become faster as is the case in the European Tours. "The course has slightly become faster. They have cut the grass and it has become faster than usual," she added. The event is tri-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET), Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) and the Womens` Golf Association of India (WGAI). Around 20 Indian golfers will be taking part in the tournament. Vani said though the course was in good condition, they could not take it lightly.
"Course is in good condition but you cannot take too much leeway as you have to keep the ball in the fairways as DGC has short fairways," she explained.

Nicollet got injured in April this year and she said she was still not 100 per cent fit. "Unfortunately, I was injured and was advised to rest for a couple of months. I am working on my fitness and undergoing rehab. I am not 100 per cent fit but I hope to do well here.
"My aim is to be injury free and pain free. I have been working on my fitness and have improved on my short game. I am feeling confident and hopefully, I can secure a card for next year," she said.

The field for the Women`s Indian Open has seen the emergence of multiple Major winner Yani Tseng, who won the inaugural edition. Since then, legendary players like Laura Davies, who won the Women`s Indian Open in 2010, and other emerging and established players have featured at the event.

They include the likes of Gwladys Nocera, winner of the first-ever Ladies European Tour sanctioned event in 2008, Phatlum Pornanong, now an LPGA player who has twice won the Indian Open, Money List winners and leaders like Lee-Ann Pace, Caroline Hedwall and Carlota Ciganda.