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Neha rallies from deficit to win 13th leg for 2nd title on Hero WPGT

NOIDA, September 29: Neha Tripathi turned in one of her best rounds of the season to rally from behind and win the 13th leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour on Friday. It was the second title of the season for Neha, who had earlier captured the first leg at the start of the season. The 25-year-old Kolkata golfer who seemed to have slipped and put herself out of the race with a round of 77 on the second day bounced back with a superb round of five-under 67. Neha, who started the final round seven shots behind the second round leader, Saaniya Sharma, sank three birdies in each half of the course against one sole bogey on the 10th in her 67 that gave her a total of one-over 217.

Saaniya went out of reckoning after two doubles on third and tenth holes besides which she had four other bogeys. Her only birdies came on two par-3s, the fifth and 16th. She carded 78 and ended in a tie for second alongside Smriti Mehra, whose title hopes were hit badly by three bogeys between 13th and 17th.

Neha had a flawless front nine with birdies on first, fifth and sixth and that helped her make up the lead Smriti had over her. On the back nine despite a dropped shot on 10th, she added birdies on 14th, 15th and 18th.

Smriti was three shots clear of Neha at the start of the day but Neha made those up over the front nine as Smriti was even with one birdie and one bogey. On the tenth as Neha bogeyed, Smriti went ahead by one. The tide turned as Smriti bogeyed 13th, 15th and 17th while Neha birdied the 14th, 15th and then for good measure added a final birdie on 18th to move from one behind to five ahead for her second title of the season. Gaurika Bishnoi (75) finished fourth and consolidated her lead at the top of the Order of Merit, as her closest rival, Amandeep Drall (77) had a disappointing week in 10th place, for one of her lowest finishes of the season.

Trisha Sunil (76) and Mehar Atwal (76) were fifth and sixth, while Afshan Fatima (77) and Ayesha Kapur (73) were seventh and eighth. Tvesa Malik, who won the previous event, the 12th leg, carded 75 and was ninth, one place ahead of Amandeep Drall. Gursimar Badwal (75), winner of two events this year, also had an indifferent week with an 11th place finish.

On the Hero Order of Merit, Gaurika (Rs. 972,400) is on the top with Amandeep (Rs. 906,300) second and Saaniya third with earnings of Rs. 763,000, Gursimar is fourth with Rs. 739,200. Neha moved up one place from sixth to fifth with Rs. 678,300.