A special one for Pornanong

A record win… Pornanong Phatlum with the trophy.-SANDEEP SAXENA

The Thai golfer played consistently to win the Hero Women’s Indian Open a record third time. Vijay Lokapally reports.

Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum was best prepared for the event. She had won the title twice before, but this time, just ahead of her 23rd birthday, it was special. The Thai played consistently to claim the Hero Women’s Indian Open a record third time at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon.

Pornanong had dominated the course with a remarkably calm demeanour. She knew her strong point was her temperament, and she excelled at the crucial stage to emerge a worthy champion. She carded a final round of six-under 66 and created a tournament record of 13-under 203. The earlier best was 204 by Caroline Hedwall in 2011. Caroline took the second spot this time with a nine-under performance.

Nontaya Srisawang of Thailand took the third place. “I had 14 greens today (final day) and 29 putts, so I just gave myself chances to make putts. I’m very happy, after I was sick four weeks ago. I came back and to get a top five, I’m very happy with that,” said Nontaya.

Pornanong had won the event at DLF in 2008 and 2009, when it was part of the Ladies Asian Golf Tour and a Women’s Golf Association of India event. This year, the tournament was co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour. It was obviously special for Pornanong.

Pornanong was understandably delighted on winning the title. “I’m so happy now. It’s like a big tournament. I love winning at this golf course, and I like to play here very much,” the Thai summed up her joy.

The finish was exciting. At the 15th, the difference was just one. The Thai was two strokes ahead as the caravan reached the 18th. And then, Caroline landed in the water just short of the green. “I hit a good shot, but I obviously lost a lot of length. It went in the water and that happens. Pornanong played really well and put pressure on me, so it was a good game, just sometimes you don’t win,” she said.

For the 14-year-old amateur Aditi Ashok, it was a memorable tournament. “This was an amazing experience, something that I will cherish. Playing with top stars from Europe and Asia and finishing in the top-10 was almost like a dream,” said Aditi, who is based in Bangalore. The top Indian pro was Nalini Singh Siwach, who maintained her overnight position of joint 33rd as she carded two-over 74 and finished at five-over 221.