Big break for Indian quartet

First it was Inbee Park,the South Korean player winning around the Asian circuit before making a winning stop on the LPGA.

Written by Aabha Rathee | New Delhi | Published:January 22, 2009 12:49 am

Set to play their first overseas event in Thailand

First it was Inbee Park,the South Korean player winning around the Asian circuit before making a winning stop on the LPGA. Then Taiwan’s Yani Tseng followed westwards,continuing the trend of Asian girls making big waves in American professional golf. So much so,that the Asian group’s voice was a big factor in the LPGA finally deciding not to adopt the proposal of English as compulsory language for the players.

The women’s Asian circuit might be small,but it’s competitive,and now the Indians are keen on making the best of the opportunity close at hand. So as the first event of the new Ladies Asian Golf Tour season rolls in Thailand in February,there will be an unprecedented five Indians challenging for the prize money of $120,000.

Nalini Singh,Pallavi Jain,Preetinder Kaur and Saaniya Sharma will join experienced campaigner Simi Mehrain Samutprakarn from February 18-20.

Grabbing the chance
With no qualifying criteria for the tournament,the Indian girls made prompt use of the first-come-first-serve opportunity,giving themselves a chance of getting invaluable experience.

“It sounded like a great chance to go play against the region’s best players,” said Nalini,speaking to Sportline on Wednesday. “It’s great for the exposure and experience it will provide us and I’m really excited about the opportunity.”

Nalini,a two-time winner on the Indian tour in what is her rookie season was also happier that she will have friendly company. “It gets easier when you have people you know around. So going in a bunch will definitely be a big boost,” she said.

For Saaniya,it will be more about experience and getting her game back on track,having missed out on the whole season after a tumour in her stomach forced surgery.

“It was a huge tumour,almost the size of a brick. I’m feeling healthy now,and want to restart on the right track right away,” Saaniya said. “I’m going with an open mind. The experience will be great,coming just before the Indian Open. I’m hoping to play the full Asian circuit this season,” she added.

Shalini starts fast
Meanwhile,at the end of Round One of the 8th leg of the DLF Women’s Professional Golf Tour,Delhi Golf Club’s Shalini Malik leads the field after shooting a score of five-over 77.

Shalini’s round at the DLF Golf & Country Club consisted of included two birdies,five bogeys and a double bogey on the par-4 15th hole. She is two shots ahead of favourite and Order of Merit leader Simi Mehra at 79.

Leaderboard: 1 Shalini Malik 77,2 Simi Mehra 79,3 Seema Sobti 80,4 Pallavi Jain 81,5 Nonita L Qureshi 83

Laverry joins Vani in lead
Noida: Laverry Kumar shot an impressive round of one-over 73 to join Vani Kapoor in the lead after Round Two of the 10th Noida Ladies Amateur Golf Championship. Vani,who brought in her second straight card of 75,and Laverry were tied at six-over 150 in the Gold A Category. Meher Atwal shot a 75 to occupy the third position at 151,while Akriti Bhadauria was fourth courtesy a round of 80.

In the Silver B Category,Ridhima Dilwaria shot an 88 to lead the field at 176 while MS Hwang continued in the second position,two strokes behind the leader. The Bronze C Category saw Nalini Sharma in the lead with a tally of 194,with Seher Atwal placed second.

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