Interestingly, the top two on the Hero Order of Merit have been paired together in the opening group in the first round, while last week’s winner, Afshan Fatima will start with new confidence as she takes on the field in the final group.
Afshan, who hails from Jaipur, finally won her maiden pro title last week at Greater Noida and she will be brimming with confidence in the event starting at the Gary Player designed course tomorrow.
Amandeep Drall,who has had an amazing run over the past few weeks with three wins and two runner-up finishes in the last six events, will also be seeking to get back to her winning ways after being pushed to second place in the play-offs in both the 12th and 13th legs of the Hero WPG Tour. She lost the one at Hyderabad to Tvesa and just recently was beaten by Afshan.
Prior to the two second place finishes, Amandeep won the eighth, 10th and 11th legs. She is second on the Hero Order of Merit behind Tvesa Malik, who has played in each of the first 13 legs of the Tour. Amandeep missed three events, the third, fourth and fifth legs.
Interestingly, Afshan and Tvesa are two among only four players who have played every tournament this season. While Tvesa leads the Order of merit, Afshan is sixth.
Afshan’s best before the win last week was fourth in the 11th leg and T-4 in the fifth. She now seems to be finding her form and will be hungry for more success.
Neha Tripathi, who has time and again led the field in the early stages of the tournament, had a rough week at Greater Noida as she finished tenth, but she is third on the Money List and has one win.
Gursimar Badwal, who was in fine form in the early part of the Tour, has since cooled off. She won twice, in the third and fifth legs, but since then her best has been T-4 in the ninth leg at Eagleton and fifth last week.
This season seven pros and two amateurs have won the first 13 tournaments, and only Amandeep Drall (3), Tvesa Malik (2), and Gursimar Badwal (2) have won more than once. The amateur winners have been Ridhima Dilawari in the seventh and Pranavi Urs in the ninth leg.
Astha Madan, who has recently become a member of WGAI, will play her maiden event as a pro.
On the first day, Tvesa Malik and Amandeep Drall, the top two on the Order of Merit will play in the first group along with Ayesha Kapur, while Mehar Atwal, Millie Saroha and Gursimar Badwal will be in the next group. The third group comprises local amateur Sifat Sagoo, Neha Tripathi and Anisha Padukone, while the fourth threesome includes Siddhi Kapoor, Khushi Khanijau and Suchitra Ramesh. Komal Chaudhary, Sonam Chugh and Astha Madan are in the second last group, while Gaurika Bishnoi, amateur Rhea Saravanan and Afshan Fatima form the final group.