Diksha Dagar, the youngest Indian woman titlist on the Ladies European tour, will be leading India's charge in the 13th edition of the Hero Indian Women's Open starting Thursday. This will be her first appearance as a professional after playing as an amateur for the last three years.

"It is going to be exciting, playing as a professional here for the first time," said the 18-year-old Dagar.

The prestigious tournament which boasts of defending champion Becky Morgan, 2017 winner Camille Chevalier and other leading names such as Carly Booth, Beth Allen, Team Europe's Solheim Cup winning captain Catriona Matthew. The competition will also feature various LET winners such as Meghan MacLaren, Marianne Skarpnord, Kanyalak Preedasuttijit, Astrid Vayson de Pradenne, Florentyna Parker and Linda Wessberg.

READ | Perez outlasts Southgate to win Alfred Dunhill Links

With the participation of a total of 22 Indians, which includes six amateurs, the home golfers are hopeful of making their presence felt. Dagar, Vaani Kapoor, Gaurika Bishnoi, Tvesa Malik, Ridhima Dilawari, who turned pro last year, Amandeep Drall, Astha Madan, Gursimar Badwal and others will lend the local flavour.

For Dagar, who currently stands 55th in the Olympic rankings, says it has overall been a good year. “I started really well in Australia and that helped me to win in South Africa (the Women’s Open this March). Since then, I have been playing tournaments on different courses, travelling a lot. The South Africa Open win gave me breathing space in terms of equipment, and now that I have secured my card, I can now try different equipment, clubs, specifications.”