12 February 2021: In a sensational come from behind effort at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club, 14-year-old amateur golfer Avani Prashanth trumped her senior rivals for her maiden victory on the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour. The teenaged golfer has been in good form, having returned the leading amateur from the second leg in Chennai. Seher Atwal’s aspiration for a maiden professional victory remained unfulfilled after a disappointing final round, following a strong 65 and 69 in the first two rounds. In the end though, showing great maturity well beyond her young shoulders, Avani sailed to victory with a 3-under 67 in the final round.
The teenaged amateur, golfing since she was six under the watchful eyes of her father MS Prashanth, is under the tutelage of Laurence Brotheridge and receives support from the Virat Kohli Foundation. Avani shot an eagle as she overcame a three-stroke deficit at the start of the day with some impressive golf under pressure. The 14-year-old won by two strokes over a seasoned field, with Amandeep Drall finishing in second at 4-under 206. Avani, just 14 years of age, started and ended the week with cards of 67 and in between shot even par 70 on the second day. Her three-day total of six-under 204 saw her top the charts ahead of the experienced Amandeep Drall (69) who aggregated 4-under 206.
Avani, schooled in golf at the KGA in Bengaluru, started her final round with an eagle on the first hole. Birdies on the fifth and eighth helped her coast past the bend in 32 strokes, usurping the lead from Atwal. In stark contrast, Seher was taking blow after blow, conceding three bogeys and two double bogeys through an eventful front nine that included two birdies. Avani kept steady through the finish, negating a bogey with a birdie to coast to victory.
Vani Kapoor ended the week in third place, a further two strokes behind Amandeep. Overnight leader Seher Atwal never got going, with a 40 on her forward stretch dampening her hopes for a maiden professional victory. She finished one back from Vani after a 75 on Friday. The Bakshi sisters continued their impressive run on the WGAI circuit, closing out in fifth and sixth at the BPGC. Jahanvi Bakshi shot 70 while Hitaashee Bakshi made a 71. Ridhima Dilawari closed with an eagle for her 69 to finish behind the two sisters.
The top ten were rounded off by Rhea Purvi Saravanan (74), Gauri Karhade (72) and Khushi Khanijau (75), placing eighth to tenth respectively.
The Bombay Presidency Golf Club heralds yet another young talent that continues a rich tradition of young amateurs making a mark on the WGAI Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour, upending the senior pros and extracting memorable victories. Pranavi Urs was also an amateur when she won her first title at Eagleton in 2018, and at the BPGC last year. Sneha Singh was also an amateur when she won at the Hyderabad Golf Club in 2019.
Ridhima Dilawari collected her first at the Prestige Golfshire in Bengaluru in 2018, in the seventh leg just ahead of Pranavi who did so in ninth leg. Diksha Dagar left her amateur impression on the final leg at the Classic Golf & Country Club at the end of 2017. Gurbani Singh, Aditi Ashok and Tvesa Malik were also amateurs when they won WGAI titles in 2015. Raksha Phadke and Meher Atwal achieved the feat in 2014.
Amandeep Drall remains at the head of the Hero WPGT Order of Merit with Vani Kapoor and Pranavi Urs in hot pursuit. Ridhima Dilawari is currently fourth on the order of merit.