Sharmila Nicollet has become the first Indian golfer to qualify for the China Ladies PGA Tour. The 26-year-old Bengaluru golfer fought her way back into the tournament in the last two rounds to earn a card for the Tour, which had Women’s World rankings points also.
Sharmila, who played on the Ladies European Tour before losing her full card, played her three rounds in the CLPGA Tour Qualifying School in 77-73-72 to finish in tied 21st and pick one of the 30 cards available in the 88-player field.
The course conditions were tough, but Sharmila, came through it well. She is planning to play in China, Australia and the LET besides some events on the domestic Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour in India, too. The plan according to her is to work towards collecting points to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
Sharmila’s qualification is a continuation of the growth story of Indian golf as the country’s top woman golfer Aditi Ashok straddles between US LPGA and Ladies European Tour and is ranked 78th in the world.
Besides Aditi and Sharmila, Vani Kapoor has a full card on LET, while Amandep Drall, Gaurika Bishnoi and Saaniya Sharma have limited status on the Ladies European Tour.
Sharmila said, “I qualified for the CLPGA tour this week in tough conditions on a links course and great competition. It’s a good tour apart from Ladies European Tour to get out of my comfort zone and test myself in all weather and course conditions, which I feel will make me a better player. Also it has world ranking points and I’m trying to work on getting them as much as I can on different tours because of the Olympics coming up. It has to be well planned. I am now looking forward to some LET events in Australia.”
Sharmila will also be seen in action in some events on the domestic Women’s Pro Golf Tour. In the 54-hole CLPGA Q-School, Australia’s Tahnia Ravnjak fired four birdies in the final seven holes, to complete a wire-to-wire victory by three strokes. The rookie pro finished the 54-hole tournament with a two-under 70 for a score of eight-under 208 to top the 88-player field in Hainan Island.
Chinese amateur Zhang Yue closed with a two-under 70 to finish runner-up. Chinese Taipei’s Peng Chieh (70) was third at six strokes back in the tournament where the top-30 players received their full playing card for the 2018 China LPGA Tour season. The Dunes at Shenzhou Peninsula West Course is a 6,275- yard, par-72 layout designed by Tom Weiskopf.