Though there are three more events on the WGAI Tour before the end of the season, the 15th leg holds a special significance, as it is the last outing before the Hero Women’s Indian Open, which will be played at the same venue.
The WGAI had 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.
Apart from Vani Kapoor, who was T-6th at the 2017 Hero Women’s IIndian Open and sees this leg of the domestic circuit as crucial preparation, the field also includes Smriti Mehra, who played the first eight legs but has not played on the domestic Tour since.
Vani has played only three times on the domestic Tour this season as she has been travelling for international events. She won the opening leg this year and was runner-up in the eighth leg.
Another player to look out for will be Gaurika Bishnoi, who signaled a return to form with a fine win in the 14th leg late last month. In seven starts this season Gaurika has won once, finished second three times and been third and fourth once each in what has been a very consistent performance. Last year at the Hero Women’s Indian Open she was T-10 after the first round and T-26 after the second before slipping down to T-44th in the final round.
Neha Tripathi, who has won once this season and finished second twice, has often not been able to convert her leads into wins. She will once again be hoping for a good week.
Ridhima Dilawari, who represented India at the recent Asian Games in Jakarta, has turned professional on the eve of this tournament as she hopes to play at the Hero Women’s Indian Open next month.
Ridhima will try and achieve a feat no other player has done on the Hero Women’s domestic Tour, which is win an event both as an amateur as well as a pro. She has four events left to try and do that. Ridhima won the seventh leg of the current season at Prestige Golfshire as an amateur and now she could do with another title as a professional.
Diksha Dagar, who was also at the Asian Games with Ridhima but is still an amateur, is also in the field. Diksha won an event on the pro tour last season.
The Hero Order of Merit leader, Tvesa Malik has played all 14 events held so far. Afshan Fatima and Millie Saroha are the only other players to have played all events this season.
Amandeep Drall, who has finished second on the Hero Order of Merit in each of the last three seasons, is once again lying second behind Tvesa. However, this time Amandeep still has four more events, including this week, to challenge Tvesa.
Tvesa holds a handy lead of Rs.2,44,200 over the second placed Amandeep, who in turn is Rs.1,41,200 ahead of Neha Tripathi.
The first round will see Suchitra Ramesh, Astha Madan and Khushi Khanijau go out in the first group, to be followed by Ayesha Kapur, Ridhima Dilawari and Amandeep Drall. Mehar Atwal, amateur Tanirika Singh and Afshan Fatima will form the third group, while Millie Saroha, Smriti Mehra and amateur Diksha Dagar are in the fourth group.
The penultimate threesome will comprise Komal Chaudhary, Gaurika Bishnoi and Tvesa Malik, while Vani Kapoor, Siddhi Kapoor and Neha Tripathi will tee off last.