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Rookie Tvesa Malik off to a winning start as a pro on Hero WPGT

Tvesa had won a tournament as an amateur in 2015
Gaurika Bishnoi becomes new leader of Hero Order of Merit

Bengaluru, July 7: Tvesa Malik got her fledgling professional career to a flying start with a win in her first start as a professional in the seventh leg of the Hero WPGT 2017 on Friday. The 21-year-old Haryana girl, held her nerve on back nine and holed a late birdie on 15th to emerge a winner by one-shot over the more experienced Gaurika Bishnoi.

Gaurika had a bitter-sweet finish. While she failed to win her second title of the season, she nevertheless moved ahead of the erstwhile leader, Amandeep Drall, on the Hero Order of Merit. It was also Gaurika’s fifth finish in Top-3 in seven starts on the Tour this season, making her the most consistent player. Gaurika now has winnings of Rs. 6,13,900 and Amandeep has Rs. 5,88,000.

Tvesa, who turned professional barely a month ago and just before the start of the second half of the Hero WPGT 2017, also won a WPGT professional tournament in 2015. But at that time she was an amateur and did not get to take home the winner’s cheque. This time her winnings of Rs. 1,40,000 gave her a great start into the world of professional golf.

Tvesa carded a round of even par 72, the same as Gaurika, but the former’s one-shot overnight lead tilted the scales. Tvesa finished at two-over 218 to Gaurika’s three-over 219.

Tvesa bogeyed the second hole this morning and that dropped her in a tie with Gaurika, who then moved ahead with a birdie on fifth. Both players birdied the seventh as the battle became tense. Then it was Tvesa’s turn to catch up and level matters with a birdie on eighth.

Tvesa and Gaurika took the turn with their scores level. The nerves began to show over the next three holes. Gaurika dropped a shot on 10th handing Tvesa the lead, but the latter dropped a shot on 11th and matters were once again equal. Both players had bogeys on par-3 12th.

Tvesa pulled off a birdie on 15th and that proved decisive. She parred the remaining holes, while Gaurika was unable to find that elusive birdie to take the battle into a play-off.

As the final par putt dropped, there was a huge sigh of relief from Tvesa, while Gaurika could only watch, unable to add another title to the one she won in the third leg in the first half of the season. But for Gaurika, the big consolation was that she moved into the lead in the Hero order of Merit, ahead of Amandeep Drall, who skipped the event to play in Thailand on the Ladies European Tour.

Captain ML Dass, Course Superintendent at the Eagleton Golf Resort, gave away the prizes to the professionals, Tvesa and Gaurika, and also the amateur topper, Pranavi Urs, who was fifth overall. Sonam Chugh (70) carded her life’s best round, which was also the only sub-par round on the final day and it was also the best of the seventh leg.

Gursimar Badwal (75) and Saaniya Sharma (77) finished distant third with same totals of 224, while amateur Pranavi Urs (76) aggregated 225 for fifth place, one place ahead of another amateur, Shweta Mansingh (72).

Sharmila Nicollet (75) and Smriti Mehra (77) tied for seventh place, Ayesha Kapur (76) and yet another amateur Ankita Kedlaya (78) tied for ninth place.