Rookie Gauri Karhade claims maiden title on Hero WPGT

Karhade stunned the front runners -- amateur Shreya Pal and the seasoned Gaurika Bishnoi -- to take her total to two-under 214 and win the title by one stroke.

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE   -  AP

Rookie Gauri Karhade showed great nerves as she carded a one-over 73 in the final round to land her maiden title at the 12th Leg of Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour here on Friday.

Playing only her sixth event as a pro, Karhade, who turns 18 in October, stunned the front runners -- amateur Shreya Pal and the seasoned Gaurika Bishnoi -- to take her total to two-under 214 and win the title by one stroke.

Gaurika Bishnoi (75) and Afshan Fatima (70) finished second with a total of one-under 215.

Karhade, who started playing at the age of 10, had finished sixth at the Hyderabad Golf Club last week for her best result as a pro. Before that her only Top-10 finish was Tied-10th in the 10th leg in Bengaluru.

Bishnoi was unable to find a single birdie on the final day.

Fatima, who made a great charge on the front nine with a two-under 34, held the lead midway through the back nine but dropped crucial back-to-back bogeys on 15th and 16th to fall into a tie for second with Bishnoi at one-under 215.

Ananya Datar (72) with one birdie on front nine to go against the sole bogey on back nine, ended sole fourth at even par 216.

Overnight leader amateur Shreya Pal was unable to emulate her Hyderabad colleague Sneha Singh, as she fell apart.

She had birdies on first and 18th, but in between she dropped four bogeys and two double bogeys for a card of 78 and ended in a tie for fifth place with Amandeep Drall (71) at one-over 217.

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Playing the final group, overnight leader Shreya Pal began with a flourish on the first with a birdie.

But she dropped three bogeys in the next four holes. Karhade, starting the final day two behind leader Shreya and one behind Bishnoi, was steady and she parred the first five holes, as Bishnoi also dropped a shot on second.

Then it was Karhade’s turn to make a mistake with a double bogey on sixth, but Bishnoi dropped a bogey on seventh and Shreya dropped a double bogey. That opened the door for Karhade.

Meanwhile, Afshan was making a charge with three birdies against one bogey on the front nine.

After nine holes, it was still a very tight battle. Bishnoi, who was four-under for two rounds, was still two-under after 45 holes.

Four players, Shreya, Afshan, Karhade and Ananya Datar were at one-under after the front nine.

On the back nine, Karhade and Afshan found birdies on 11th and Gaurika bogeyed to let Karhade and Afshan move into the lead with the two-shot swing. Karhade dropped a shot on 12th to fall back and Afshan was sole leader.

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Karhade and Afshan both birdied the 14th at which stage Afshan was ahead at three-under and Karhade was two-under. Gaurika stayed at one-under. Shreya, now five-over for the day after a bogey on 12th, fell back to even par.

Then it was Afshan’s turn to make mistakes and she made two in a row on 15th and 16th that allowed Karhade to sneak ahead.

She only had to stay calm and get her pars. She did just that. None of the three, including Bishnoi, made birdies on the last two holes, leaving Karhade as the victor.

Gaurika, unable to find birdies the whole day, ended Tied-second with Afshan, who after a great 14 holes made crucial errors to throw away a chance.

Siddhi Kapoor (74) was seventh, while amateur Sneha (74) was eighth, Gursimar Badwal (75) ended ninth and Ishvari Prasanna (75) rounded off the Top-10. Ridhima Dilawari (74) finished a disappointing 11th.

The next event will be the 13th Leg at the DLF Golf and Country Club from August 28 to 30.