From walking players and keeping scores to becoming one of the best - Gaurika, Tvesa's Indian Open story

The duo will be part of the field, which will see a total of 22 Indians, including six amateurs, compete this week when the event begins at DLF Golf & Country Club on Thursday.

The prize: Tvesa Malik, Neha Tripathi, Amandeep Drall and Gaurika Bishnoi with the Hero women's Indian Open golf trophy.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

There was a time Gaurika Bishnoi and Tvesa Malik had different roles to play in the Hero Women's Indian Open. There was once a time when the duo volunteered for the tournament, where their roles involved walking with the players and keeping score.

Gaurika and Tvesa, who finished Tied-13th at the last edition, were just kids, awestruck to see their idols play at the women’s Indian Open, which began in 2007.

“I had just started playing golf around that (2007) time. Laura Davies (in 2010) would come and she would hold the clinic and we were just little kids who would be so excited to see our idols and volunteering for the Indian Open,” said Gaurika, who is currently leading the Order of Merit after the 13th leg of Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour.

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“It has definitely been a long journey from walking with the player (and) writing the scores to actually playing in the event and doing well in it,” added the Haryana golfer, who had a top-15 finish at the last edition.

Tvesa said it is surreal to think that she is now a leading player competing at the prestigious tournament.

“I was definitely not playing golf 12 years ago, probably just starting out. But I do remember six years ago, I used to live in Bengaluru, and my sister and I flew down to volunteer for the Indian Open. I got to score some of the groups, walk around and got a lot of free golf balls from the top pros!” she said.

“So that was amazing and to think about the journey from volunteering and watching the pros play to now getting a chance to play myself feels almost surreal.”

The duo will be part of the field, which will see a total of 22 Indians, including six amateurs, compete this week when the event begins at DLF Golf & Country Club on Thursday.

Indian stars will include Diksha Dagar, winner of the 2019 South African Women’s Open in March, and Vani Kapoor, who has been in Top-10 in recent past.

Among other Indians, Ridhima Dilawari, who turned pro last year, Amandeep Drall, Astha Madan, Gursimar Badwal and others will hope to make the best of their familiarity with the course.

Malik recently won a domestic event at this course.

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The six amateurs are Sneha Singh, Pranavi Urs, Seher Atwal, Anika Verma, Hitaashee Bakshi, Jahanavi Bakshi.

Among the top foreign golfers, UK golfer Becky Morgan will look to turn things around when she begins her title defence.

“I love coming to India. It’s my tenth visit and I just love this course. Actually I liked it even when we played at the other course, Delhi Golf Club a couple of time,” she said.

“It was almost the end of the season when I won last year and it’s not been very great this year, but I am hopeful of a good defense of the title,” added Morgan, whose best this season has been T-14 at the Australian Ladies Classic.

Apart from Morgan, the international participants include the 2017 winner, Camille Chevalier and other leading names like Carly Booth, Beth Allen and other LET winners including Meghan MacLaren, Marianne Skarpnord, Kanyalak Preedasuttijit, Astrid Vayson de Pradenne, Florentyna Parker and Linda Wessberg.