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Asian Games-bound amateur Ridhima wins 7th leg on Hero WPG Tour

Bengaluru, June 22: Ridhima Dilawari, who is on a summer break from Columbia University in the United States, joined a select band of amateurs, to win on the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour. The 20-year-old Delhi girl, who started the day three shots behind the overnight leader, Tvesa Malik, carded a brilliant 4-under 68 with eight birdies against four bogeys in an aggressive display of golf at Prestige Golfshire Golf course.

Ridhima, who is also part of the Indian team, which will play at the Asian Games later this year in Jakarta, added a 68 to her first two rounds of 75-76 to finish at 3-over and two shots ahead of Tvesa Malik (73) who totaled 221.

Ridhima joins the list of amateurs like Vani Kapoor, Tvesa Malik and Mehar Atwal (before they turned pro), Gurbani Singh, Aditi Ashok, Diksha Dagar and Raksha Phadke, who have won on the Hero WPG Tour.

Yet another amateur, Seher Atwal (72) finished sole third with a total of 6-over 222. Amandeep Drall (74) at 224, Neha Tripathi (72) at 227 and Gursimar Badwal (75) at 229 were fourth to sixth.

With amateurs bagging first and third places, Tvesa despite being second got the winning cheque of Rs. 1,20,000. Amandeep and Neha picked the amounts slotted for second and third. That helped Neha stay on top of the Hero Order of Merit with winnings of Rs. 6,43,400 while Tvesa moved close behind her to second place at Rs. 6,35,600. The gap between the two is now less than Rs. 8,000.

Gursimar slipped to third on the Order of Merit, while Smriti Mehra gained a place from fifth to fourth and Saaniya Sharma, who is out of action dropped to fifth.

Ridhima, who played in the second last group, opened with a bogey, but four birdies in the next six holes indicated a strong challenge despite a bogey on ninth, which meant she turned in 2-under 34.

Just behind her, Tvesa playing alongside Amandeep and Seher, was even par for the front nine. Seher was also even for the stretch. The third player in the lead group Amandeep fell back with a front nine 39.

Even though Tvesa and Ridhima were in different groups it was clear the battle for the title was between them with Seher close behind.

Tvesa held a slight edge with a one-shot lead. Ridhima dropped a shot on 10th but picked birdies on 11th and 12th, while Tvesa birdied 11th. Both had pars on 13th and at that time, Tvesa was still one shot ahead.

The twist came in the next four holes. Ridhima found birdies on Par-4 14th and Par-3 15th while Tvesa bogeyed 14th and 15th, creating a four-shot swing, and handing Ridhima a three-shot lead.

As Tvesa birdied 16th and then gave back that gain on the 17th, Ridhima dropped a shot on 17th to see her lead reduced to two. She played out for a par carefully on 18th and set a target of 3-over 219. That effectively shut the door on Tvesa, who then needed an improbable eagle on Par-4 18th to get into a play-off.

Seher played steady with one birdie and one bogey on both sides of the course and finished at 72 for the third place.

As Amandeep (74) played her front nine in 3-over and played 1-under for the back nine, Neha had two birdies and two bogeys for 72 and she jumped up to fifth and Gursimar was sixth.

Amateur Pranavi Urs (73), Smriti Mehra (81), Afshan Fatima (77) and Suchitra Ramesh (77) were placed seventh to 10th.

The eighth leg begins next week on June 27t at Clover Greens, Tamil Nadu.