Pune: Veteran golfer Smriti Mehra held her nerves to manage a one-shot win over Nalini Singh Siwach in the 14th leg of the Hero Women`s professional golf tour at the Poona Golf Club on Friday. Mehra carded an even par 71 even as Nalini shot the only sub-par round of the week with a 70.
Nalini, who reduced her first round of five shots to two after second day, was level with Smriti after the 17th. But a bogey on the closing hole, the par-5 18th saw her hand over the title to Smriti without going into the play-off. Smriti`s final round 71 saw her finish the tournament at two-over 215, while Nalini was at 216.
Third placed Saaniya Sharma (73) was way back at 227 while Neha Tripathi (75) and Preetinder Kaur (75) were tied fourth at 234. Shraddhanjali Singh (80) was sixth at 237. Vandana Aggarwal (242), Ankita Tiwana (244) and Pallavi Jain (250) finished further behind in that order.
Smriti and Nalini were engaged in an exciting tussle for the title. Starting the day two shots ahead, Smriti bogeyed the first hole, even as Nalini parred to reduce the gap to one.
When Smriti birdied the fourth and seventh, the gap became three shots, but a birdie from the senior player on ninth saw her only two ahead at the turn.
After the turn Smriti bogeyed the tenth, but birdied the 11th as Nalini parred both. Then it was Nalini`s turn to move ahead by one, as she birdied the 12th and 13th, while Smriti bogeyed the 13th. The see-saw battle swung Smriti`s way once more as she parred the 14th, while Nalini bogeyed. On the 15th, Smriti birdied and Nalini parred to 15th. Smriti was once again one ahead and then with Nalini picking a birdie two on par-3 16th, it was even once again.
Then both parred the 17th, while Nalini buckled under pressure and dropped a bogey on 18th to leave Smriti a victor by one. With this win Smriti extended her lead at the top of the Order of Merit and won her sixth title of the season, while Nalini second the Merit list has won three.