Phatlum retains Indian Open title

Hae-jung Kim’s repetitive pauses for another look at her line before putting might or might not have been a sign of nerves.

Written by Express News Service | Gurgaon | Published:February 28, 2009 12:37 am

Hae-jung Kim’s repetitive pauses for another look at her line before putting might or might not have been a sign of nerves. But the way the Korean’s putt-for-putt battle with Pornanong Phatlum for the Indian Open title all through the final day ended,their absence in the Thai teenager’s make-up was obvious.

Phatlum,the defending champion,sank an up-down,perfectly-curling 30-footer on the 17th hole that stretched her lead over the Korean to two shots with one hole to go,and as good as ended the slugfest. She finished with an eight-under 208 after a four-under on Friday as Kim,who had started the day level,could only manage a two-under in the last round.

Phatlum blinked first in the morning,needing two putts after chipping from the rough on the par-four fifth and bogeying. She sank a long putt on the par-three eighth for birdie,but Kim countered with one herself,keeping the pressure on and her one-shot lead intact.

Then,after a messy ninth hole where Kim went from bunker to heavy rough to water,and still managed a great chip to limit the loss to just a bogey,they made the turn the way they had started the day,scores level.

Then on the par-five 14th,Kim three-putted from just off the green to drop a shot,and Phatlum,sensing an opening,hit a stunner of an approach shot on the next,landing just about a foot from the pin,to birdie and extend her lead to two shots with three holes to go. Kim’s usual steady hitting helped her cut it down to one on the par-three 16th,as she had just about four feet for birdie,but it was on the very next hole that Phatlum made sure the name on the trophy wouldn’t change.

Nalini Singh’s one-over 73 got her the best Indian finish,finishing tied 11th at six-over. Delhi’s Gauri Monga,took the amateur title,finishing tied 13th.

Leaderboard: 1 Pornanong Phatlum (THA) -8,2 Hae-jung Kim (KOR) -6,3 Titiya Plucksataporn (THA) +3,4 Mi-ri Joo (KOR),Clare Choi (AUS),Wen-lin Li (TPE),Tandi Cuningham (RSA),Nontaya Srisawang (THA) +4; 9 Yeo-jin Kang (KOR),Nicole Montgomery (AUS) +5

Indians (best five): T11 Nalini Singh +6; T13 Gauri Monga (A) +7; T26 Smriti Mehra +12; T29 Tanya Wadhwa (A) +13; T37 Saaniya Sharma +17

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