Oct 04, 2018: Ridhima Dilawari is just one round away from making a winning debut on the pro circuit, as she played a brilliant front nine on the Gary Player layout at the DLF Golf and Country Club enroute to a 1-under 71 that gave her a one-shot lead at the end of the second round of the 15th Leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour. Ridhima shot 75 in the first round and her 71 on Friday took her tally to 2-over 146, while Tvesa Malik, the Hero Order or Merit leader who led overnight, slumped to 4-over 76 and was second at 3-over 147.
Smriti Mehra, despite 77 in the second round, was third at 5-over 149, while three players Vani Kapoor (75), amateur Diksha Dagar (75) and Gaurika Bishnoi (76) were all Tied-4th at 6-over 150.
Neha Tripathi bounced back from her first round 79 to shoot an even par 72 and rose to T-7th alongside Millie Saroha (74) and amateur Tanirika Singh (74). Mehar Atwal (79-75) rounded off the Top 10.
Ridhima, who has taken some time off college in USA and represented India at the Asian Games, had a superb run on her second nine.
With all players starting from the back nine, Ridhima had two bogeys on the 12th and 15th and turned in 2-over at the Gary Player course. She also bogeyed the first and was at that stage 3-over for the day. Thereafter, she was simply unstoppable. She birdied three in a row from third to fifth and added further birdies on eighth and ninth. She did drop another shot on sixth, but her second nine was 3-under 33 and helped her get to 71.
If Ridhima wins, she will become the first player to win once each both as an amateur as well as a professional in the same season. Earlier in the year she won as an amateur. It will also put her in a perfect frame of mind as she gets ready for the Hero Women’s Indian Open later in the month.
On Friday, Komal Chaudhary and Ayesha Kapur will go out first in a two-ball, followed by Khushi Khanijau, Astha Madan and Amandeep Drall in the second group. The third group has Siddhi Kapoor, Afshan Fatima and Mehar Atwal. Amateur Tanirika Singh, Millie Saroha and Neha Tripathi will go out in the fourth group, followed by the penultimate 3-ball of Gaurika Bishnoi, amateur Diksha Dagar and Vani Kapoor. The lead group will feature Ridhima Dilawari, Tvesa Malik and Smriti Mehra.
Though there are three more events on the WGAI Tour before the end of the season, the 15th leg is the last outing before the Hero Women’s Indian Open, which will be played at the same venue.
The WGAI scheduled the 14th and 15th legs of the Tour at the DLF to ensure that the Indian players get a taste of the Gary Player course before the huge US$ 500,000 Hero Women’s Indian Open.