LPGA Release – 15 October 2018: While no Indian woman has ever won a LPGA Tour event, the landscape of the sport in the country has been altered by the success of a couple individuals. At No. 97 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Aditi Ashok is the highest-ranked female professional since Simi Mehra, who played on Tour for several years beginning in 1997. She attained a career-high ranking of No. 17 in 1998.
Meanwhile, three natives to India are in the field this week for Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament. Sharmila Nicollet (Bangalore, India), Nikita Arjun (Bangalore, India) and Neha Tripathi (Gurgaon, India) continue to chase their dreams. Tripathi will have some experience on her side at Plantation Golf & Country Club as Mehra is her caddy for the week.
AS INDIA’S GOLF COMMUNITY GROWS, NICOLLET HELPING PAVE THE WAY
In today’s digital world, Nicollet is easily one of the most recognizable Indian female golfer with greater than 478,000 Twitter followers and over 125,000 fans on Instagram.
Although golf succumbs to cricket and soccer as far as popularity in a nation of more than 1.3 billion people, it is growing at a steady rate thanks to players like Nicollet.
“All of this recreated, or has changed the perspective of golf in India and everyone wants to make it now,” said Nicollet. “It is getting better every year using the whole hype of golf in India. I just hope to see every one of us in a group out there speaking our own language.”
“It’s nice to have some familiarity, fellow Indians out here,” Nicollet said. “Me and Nina are staying together. Everyone is in their own groups, so it’s great to have someone from back home and the three of us supporting each other. This is my first time and I think the challenge is the wind. You have to trust decisions and judgment with clubs, that is going to be key this week.”
Nicollet was the highest Indian finisher at Stage I, as she shot 2-over par to end in a tie for 46th and advance comfortably within the cut line. Immediately after her time in SoCal, she went straight to Orlando to begin preparation for Stage II.
Between the gym and training sessions with coach Gary Girlich, the first Indian golfer to qualify for the China Ladies PGA Tour feels as ready as she could be.
“I started working with him in August last year and my game has got so much better because he is a great mentor and coach,” said Nicollet. “You can’t go wrong with the facilities in the U.S. and my dream is to be on the LPGA. I have worked on a lot of different aspects of my game and came to Venice a week before to get used to the conditions.”
Tomorrow, Nicollet will put it all to the test when she heads out from No. 10 on the Bobcat Course at 1:37 p.m. ET in pursuit of a spot in the Q-Series field.
“I comfortably made it through Stage I, which means my game is pretty good,” Nicollet said. “It is good confidence going into this and I just need to play average golf, nothing fancy. There is no rocket science around it, have to trust the process and playing my game should be good enough.”