Sharmila Nicollet edges Blair O’Neal in fan vote for LPGA spot

Nicollet received 39 per cent of the 27,652 votes cast, while O’Neal, also a TV presenter and model, got 30 per cent. Booth (25 per cent) was third and Benavides (6 per cent) fourth. Nicollet enjoyed the support of a Twitter campaign, labelled #GetSharmilaToLPGA.

This will be Sharmila Nicollet's third LPGA event, after appearances at the 2011 and 2012 Evian Masters, where she missed the cut.   -  The Hindu

Indian golfer Sharmila Nicollet has won a Twitter poll to claim a playing spot in the 2017 ShopRite LPGA Classic. Nicollet rode a huge wave of support on social media to win the poll by nine per centage points ahead of America's Blair O’Neal.

Organisers of the ShopRite LPGA Classic, to be held from June 2 to 4 near Atlantic City, New Jersey, ran a week-long online poll, which concluded on Monday, to give away a sponsor exemption to the tournament. Four golfers were chosen for the poll—including Scotland’s Carly Booth and Bolivia’s Susana Benavides—based on data from a social media tracking firm.

Nicollet received 39 per cent of the 27,652 votes cast, while O’Neal, also a TV presenter and model, got 30 per cent. Booth (25 per cent) was third and Benavides (6 per cent) fourth. Nicollet enjoyed the support of a Twitter campaign, labelled #GetSharmilaToLPGA.

“Thank you for the opportunity with this brilliant idea! It has definitely created a buzz in India around the game of golf,” she wrote on Twitter. “In a small way, this poll has helped boost awareness of the game in India where it is still a niche sport,” the 26-year-old said in a statement posted on the tournament website.

This will be Nicollet's third LPGA event, after appearances at the 2011 and 2012 Evian Masters, where she missed the cut.

The idea to conduct a poll, though, has stirred up controversy, with the LPGA being accused of exploiting the social media presence of women golfers.

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