Khushi from Jaipur clenches maiden title at 15th, final leg of WPGT

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Kolkata: Jaipur’s Khushi Khanijau emerged as a deserving winner with a stunning birdie-birdie finish in the 15th and final leg of the Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club in Kolkata.

21-year-old Khushi, who turned professional in 2018, thus entered the winner’s circle for the first time. Khushi’s previous best of the year was tied-second in 2018 at Boulder Hills in Hyderabad (with Tavesa Malik) and behind Amandeep Dral. Khushi was also the Rookie of the Year in 2018. Khushi became the fifth winner for the first time in 2021 after Jhanvi Bakshi, who registered three more wins, Sahar Atwal and Lakhmehar Pardesi and amateur Avani Prashant.

Khushi, who learned most of his early golf at Ram Bagh Golf Club in Jaipur, scored an even score of 72 with three birdies in the last four holes, during which he also made a bogey on the 16th. His round of 72, the best of the day, got him a total of 229, better than the trio of amateur Smriti Bhargava (77), Shweta Mansingh (77) and overnight leader Sahar Atwal (80), who were all tied. for another.

As Khushi played in the second final group, she finished on 229 and waited for the final group. A birdie for either Smriti, Sahar and Shweta, playing together, would have sent the tournament to the play-offs. However, all three crossed and stayed one behind to share the runner-up spot.

Where Khushi made four birdies, three of them in the last four holes, neither Smriti Bhargava nor Sahar managed to get any birdie on the final day.

Khushi started the day seven shots behind leader Sehar and had an immaculate front nine with a birdie on par-4 sixth and eighth par. However, he suffered setbacks on 10 and 11, in which he bogeyed. However, the dominant group behind him had problems of his own. Sehar was two overs, Smriti was three overs for a further nine and Shweta was four.

This gave Khushi a chance to take a charge, but setbacks on 10, 11 and 14 as three bogeys meant she had finished her job in the final four holes.

Khushi got an unexpected chance as the lead group started dropping too many shots. Smriti was two overs for the last nine overs, Shweta had three and Sahar faced six over 42 on the home stretch. In contrast, Khushi was just one over and it helped him become the club house leader. He retained that lead as the last trio could not take any lead on the 18th.

Gurgaon’s Shweta Mansingh, who was in the race for her first title after the second round, had a four-hole chance as she was in the final grouping. However, Shweta dropped her shots on the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to come third on 231.

Overnight leader Sahar Atwal had a very disappointing final day as he did not have a single birdie. Instead, she dropped two shots on the front nine and two bogeys and two doubles on the back nine for a total of 8-over 80 and fell into fourth.

Amateur Jhanvi Prakhya finished fifth, Lakhmehar sixth and Oviya Reddy seventh. Sania Sharma, Neha Tripathi and Jyotsna Singh made it to the top-10 in the final event of 2021.

Amandeep Dral, who was playing in the final qualifying stage of the Ladies European Tour in Spain, having not played in the last two weeks, managed to stay ahead and win the Order of Merit, which has been added for 2020 and 2021. Vaani Kapoor and Jhanvi Bakshi are also playing. Spain finished second and third for the LET berth. (ANI)

First Published:December 17, 2021, 6:43 pm

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