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Rookie Ridhima wins maiden pro title on third start, tops 17th leg of Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour

NOIDA, November 29: Ridhima Dilawari captured her maiden professional title as she cruised to a five-shot win in the 17th Leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Noida Golf Course on Friday. Ridhima, who turned pro soon after representing India at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, carded a steady even Par 72 to total five-over 221 and win by five shots over Gursimar Badwal.

It was only the third start for Ridhima on the domestic Tour. She has also played at the Hero Women’s Indian Open on the Ladies European Tour and finished T-20.

Interestingly, Ridhima finished second in the 15th Leg, which was her debut event on the local tour, and was then leading into the final round in the 16th leg but faltered and finished Tied-fourth as Tvesa won her fourth title of the year. This time Ridhima had no such hiccups and the title came her way.

20-year-old Ridhima took a year off after her second year at Columbia University in the US to represent India at the Asian Games, and then turned pro. She now has a win, a second place and Tied-4th in three appearances besides a Top-20 at the Hero Women’s Indian Open to give her pro career a solid start.

In the final round at the Noida Golf Course, she started with a one-shot lead over the leading domestic star this year, Tvesa Malik. Ridhima began sedately with five pars but then bogeyed the sixth, which she neutralized with a birdie on eighth. Another dropped shot on ninth saw her turn in one-over. But by then Tvesa had dropped two shots on the front nine and fallen three back.

On the back nine Ridhima was very consistent. She played steady and did not drop any shots. She also picked up a birdie on the Par-5 14th to coast to a comfortable win.

Tvesa fell further back as she played six-over 42 for the back nine which included a triple bogey on the Par-5 17th and bogeys on 11th, 15th and 18th. She finished seventh.

Gursimar Badwal played her best round of the week with an even par 72 and climbed to second, while Millie Saroha had one of her best weeks of the year despite a 77 in the final round, and was Tied-third with Siddhi Kapoor (77).

Neha Tripathi (74) and Amandeep Drall (76) were Tied-fifth ahead of Tvesa at seventh, while Saaniya Sharma (76) and Afshan Fatima (78) were eighth and ninth. Smriti Meha, who started the week with a fine round of 72, fell back on the next two and finished tenth.

Tvesa with Rs.15,89,200 maintains her top spot on the Hero Order of Merit, while Amandeep Drall with Rs.11,56,000 is second and Neha Tripathi is the third player to cross the Rs.10 lakh mark at Rs.10,48,200.

The 18th and final leg of the season will be held from December 11th to 14th at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club.