17 March 2021: On a bright and sunny day at the Rambagh Golf Club, Jahanvi Bakshi showed no signs of easing up on the back of her maiden WGAI title. The elder of the two Bakshi sisters on the professional circuit shot 69 for a two-stroke advantage over Hitaashee Bakshi, Tvesa Malik and Amandeep Drall. The three women are tied in second at 71, on the par-70 course in Jaipur, the venue of the sixth leg of the WGAI Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour.
Jahanvi began her round off the tenth tee, getting away to five straight pars. Her lone bogey came on the 372 yard par-4 15th hole, needing 36 strokes to get past the bend. But the 18-year-old came home in just 33 strokes with the help of birdies at the second and sixth holes, both par-3 for a solid 69, the only under-par round on the day.
The last time Jahanvi played the course was during her junior days, while she was still doing the rounds as a c-category girl. She barely has a recollection of the course, but after a couple of practice rounds this week, finds herself in the comfort zone and in contention again soon after her maiden pro tour success last week.
“The course is in great condition and the greens are playing fast, but the lines are holding true,” said an impressed Jahanvi. “I got off to a good start, but for that bogey on the 15th hole.”
Jahanvi put her six-iron to work on the par-3 second hole before dropping it dead centre from just inside ten feet for her first birdie of the week. She repeated that effort on the sixth hole, making her longest putt of the round from the edge of the green, about twenty feet from the flag.
“Quite a few of my birdies rolled short or slid past the edge of the cup. I felt I could have gone lower, but overall it was a satisfying round. I am happy with the start and hope to continue well through the next two rounds.”
Last week, Jahanvi shot 71-69-72 to secure her maiden WGAI title with a four-stroke victory over Vani Kapoor. Younger sister Hitaashee secured her first victory at the Classic Golf and Country Club in December last year.
On Thursday, Hitaashee shot three birdies in a battling 71. The 16-year-old also started off the tenth, conceding four bogeys and a birdie on the par-5 17th hole. But she played a fluent second nine, as she secured birdies on the sixth and eighth holes to end the day at 1-over with Tvesa and Amandeep.
Amandeep was a two time winner in 2020 and is looking to cushion her lead at the top of the order of merit with her first victory in 2021. Tvesa had a rousing season in 2019 and has continued to play well both in India and Europe. But after winning thrice in 2019, she is searching for her first victory since the 13th leg at the DLF Golf and Country Club in August that year.
Tvesa had an excellent round with two birdies and fifteen pars. Her lone blemish came on the par-3 sixth hole where she took six strokes on her card of 71. Amandeep started on front nine, shot an early birdie at the second before romping past the turn in 34 strokes, but a couple of bogeys on the home stretch dented her card.
Gauri Karhade and Ridhima Dilawari shot 72 each. Gauri shot three birdies in a 34 on the front nine but three bogeys and a double meant that she signed at 2-over par. Ridhima had a quiet day that was marred just a shade by a bogey on either stretch.
Shweta Mansingh is lying seventh at 74 with Vani Kapoor and amateur Avani Prashanth trailing by just one shot. Ananya Datar, Neha Tripathi, amateur Nishana Patel and Seher Atwal were also on 75, rounding of the top ten.