Vani off to fast start with 69 to be T9; Tvesa cards 71 in Aramco Series
India’s Vani Kapoor continued her fine form as she opened with 3-under that put her in the Top-10 on her debut at the Aramco Team Series.
Vani was just two shots off the lead, which was shared by five players, as she ended the day tied 9th.
Tvesa Malik and Diksha Dagar carded 71 each to be tied 33rd.
The fourth Indian in the fray, Amandeep Drall, runner-up at the Indian Open, opened with a disappointing 74 to be tied 77th.
Five players held a share of the lead with 5-under 67 each and they included Ursula Wikstrom of Finland, Nicole Garcia of South Africa, Virgina Elena Carta of Italy, Ana Pelaez Trivino of Spain and Johanna Gustavsson of Sweden.
Vani, coming off a fine Top-10 finish on the Ladies European Tour’s Hero Women’s Indian Open at home, had a brilliant start with four birdies in the first five holes -- the first, second, fourth and fifth.
She then ran out of birdies but maintained pars, except at the par-4 14th, where she dropped a shot.
Tvesa had three birdies against two bogeys as did Diksha. Amandeep had two bogeys on eighth and ninth and no birdies.
Team Kreuzer held a one-shot lead at the end of the first day.
It was quite the morning for Germany’s Helen Tamy Kreuzer as she was the first reserve heading into day one of the tournament and received a message at 5am to say Becky Brewerton had to withdraw and she would now be playing.
Few hours later Kreuzer alongside Carta, Sweden’s Lina Boqvist and Saudi amateur Lujain Khalil went atop the leaderboard in the team competition on 17-under-par.
The quartet didn’t drop a shot on day one, shooting nine-under-par on the front nine and coming home in eight-under-par to put them a shot clear at the top of the leaderboard at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.
Three teams sit in second place on the leaderboard with Team Ström, Team Garcia and Team Peláez Trivino all on 16-under-par.
Team Wikstrom are one shot further back on 15-under with Team Grechi in sixth place on 14-under and four teams round up the top 10 with Team Then, Team Gustavsson, Team Wolf and Team Alonso all on 13-under-par.
In the individual competition, five players share the lead at the end of day one. It was a bogey-free day for both Garcia and Peláez Trivino, who rolled in one eagle and three birdies apiece on their way to five-under-par.
Gustavsson is back at the venue which kickstarted her 2022 season, as she finished as runner-up here at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International in March and is coming into the week off the back of a Team victory in New York.
Three players are one shot further back with France’s Lucie Malchirand, Germany’s Chiara Noja and Sweden’s Jessica Karlsson in T6 on four-under-par.
Nine players including Vani and four Swedes are in a tie for ninth place on three-under-par.
Sharma starts with a modest even par 72 in South Africa
India’s Shubhankar Sharma opened with a modest even par 72 to be tied 32nd after the first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Sharma, who started the season in the Middle East with a runner-up finish in Abu Dhabi, has struggled this year, missing numerous cuts. He is looking for a good finish in the Nedbank Challenge, where there is no cut.
Sharma is assured of a start at the DP World Tour Championships in Dubai next week.
Meanwhile, Ryan Fox gave his chances of topping the DP World Tour Rankings a boost as he fired an impressive opening round of 64 to lead the field.
After carding two birdies and a bogey on the front nine, Fox fired an eagle and five birdies after the turn to get to eight under par and move one stroke ahead of European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald, who has returned to Gary Player Country Club for the first time since 2014.
New Zealand’s Fox began the week second on the DP World Tour Rankings, having already claimed two victories in a stellar 2022 season.
If he can add another win to his tally in Sun City on Sunday, Fox will overtake leader Rory McIlroy ahead of the season finale in Dubai next week.
Former world number one Donald is in second place after notching seven birdies in a bogey-free 65, with Italy’s Guido Migliozzi two shots further back after his 67.
Australian Min Woo Lee continued the form that saw him notch up back-to-back third place finishes in his last two appearances, getting to four under par with his round of 68, alongside Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay and England’s Richard Bland.
Edoardo Molinari, one of Donald’s vice-captains for next year’s Ryder Cup in Rome, is amongst five players a shot further back at three under par.
Madappa has roller-coaster round, lies 21st
Indian golfer Viraj Madappa endured a roller-coaster round, that included eight birdies, two double bogeys and a bogey, to return a three-under and be placed tied 21st at the International Series Egypt.
Madappa, who had a double bogey on Par-3 11th, his second hole of the day, recovered superbly with six birdies between 12th and the 18th.
He added two more birdies to get to 6-under, before dropping his second double bogey of the day on eighth and a bogey on ninth for a 67 that saw him tied 21st after looking good to be in top-5 two holes before the finish.
SSP Chawrasia, who had a double bogey and an eagle on two successive holes on second and third, finished the day with 2-under 68 and was tied 30th as the next best Indian.
Veer Ahlawat (69) was tied 44th while Ajeetesh Sandhu, S Chikkarangappa and Honey Baisoya all shot 70 each to be tied 55th.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (71) was tied 72nd, Aman Raj (71) was tied 91st and the trio of Khalin Joshi, Karandeep Kochhar and Saptak Talwar carded 72 to be tied 102nd.
Scott Hend continued his comeback as he shot a sublime eight-under-par 62 to take the first-round lead. The Australian, who has battled back from prostate cancer, looked like his old self making nine birdies and one bogey.
Thailand’s Pawin Ingkhapradit and Seungtaek Lee from Korea shot equally impressive 63s, while South African Jaco Ahlers and Canadian Richard T. Lee returned 64s.
Hend has fully recovered from cancer but says the biggest obstacle he faces now is a lack of confidence.
He said: “I am a 10-time winner on the Asian Tour, I am a 15-time winner around the world, I am an Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, I am second on the Asian Tour Career Money List, I have been playing golf since I was 14 years old, I know how to play, I have just got to keep telling myself that.” The 49-year-old was tied third going into the final round at last week’s International Series Morocco before shooting a 78 to finish 14th.
He could easily have finished with a lower score here but missed three putts from inside four feet on the outward half and one from a similar length on the way back.
Anvvi Dahhiya wins 12th DGC Ladies Open Amateur Golf C’ship
Anvvi Dahhiya, all of 14, claimed the title at the 12th DGC Ladies Open Amateur Golf Championship on Friday.
The three-day championship saw 125 women golfers aged between 10 years and 80 years vying for tops honours at the sprawling greens of Delhi Golf Club.
Dahhiya scored 230 to walk away with the champion’s trophy, while 13-year-old Ayesha Gupta and 17-year old Renee Rane finished first and second runners-up with scores of 236 and 240, respectively.
Ridhima sizzles with 6-under 66 to win 14th Leg of Hero WPGT by five shots
Ridhima Dilawari produced a sizzling bogey-free six-under 66 in the final round to win the 14th Leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour on Friday.
Starting the final day one behind the overnight leader Afshan Fatima, Ridhima picked up three birdies on either side of the Panchkula Golf Course to take her total to five-under 211.
She won by five shots over Afshan.
Ridhima thus became the third player after Pranavi Urs (5) and Hitaashee Bakshi (2) to win more than once this season.
Following her win in the eighth leg of the season at the KGA in Bengaluru, this was Ridhima’s second success of the year. She was also second in the fourth leg at Aamby Valley.
For Afshan, who suffered a bogey on the 10th and a double on the 11th for the second day in a row, it was the best result of the current season, but she stays winless since the win in 2018. Afshan aggregated even par 216.
Besides Ridhima, the other player to excel on the final day was Gaurika Bishnoi, who bounced back from her second round 78, as she scored 10 shots better than the second day with a 4-under 68.
Gaurika, who had seven birdies against three bogeys, finished third at 2-over 218.
Ridhima and Afshan began the final round with birdies and then Afshan added a second birdie on second to go two shots ahead.
Then Ridhima’s fortunes changed as she birdied third and fourth, while Afshan bogeyed third and parred fourth as both players were now level.
The see-saw battle continued as Afshan forged ahead again with a birdie on fifth. There was a two-shot swing on the Par-4 sixth, which Ridhima birdied and Afshan bogeyed. Suddenly Ridhima went ahead, and she did not look back after that.
Both players bogeyed the ninth and there was a three-shot swing on the 10th as Ridhima birdied and Afshan dropped a double. That ended Afshan’s hopes even though she managed three birdies against one bogey in the remaining eight holes.
Ridhima made no mistakes and instead birdied 14th and 15th and parred the rest for a comfortable five-shot win.
Seher Atwal (72) who started bogey-bogey on the final day, was fourth at 3-over 219, while Saaniya Sharma (70), one of the only three players to have a under par round on the final day, was tied fifth with Hitaashee (74), who bogeyed eighth and ninth and triple bogeyed the 10th.
Jyotsana Singh (74) finished seventh at 5-over 221, while Khushi Khanijau (75) and the top amateur Lavanya Jadon (75) were tied eighth at 7-over 223. Sneha Singh (73) was tenth at 10-over 226.
Ridhima moved up to fifth spot on the Hero Order of Merit, while Pranavi Urs, who did not play this week, stayed on top with Hitaashee Bakshi second. Seher Atwal and Gaurika Bishnoi are third and fourth.
The tour now moves to the Chandigarh Golf Club for the 15th and final leg of the season.
Second leg of HCL-SRFI India Tour to be held in Jodhpur
Egyptian world number 71 will be the top seed in the men’s draw while Malaysian Aira Azman will headline the women’s draw in the second leg of the HCL-SRFI India Tour, to be held in Jodhpur from November 17 to 21.
The home team challenge will be led by Abhay Singh and Akanksha Salunkhe as 48 squash players from nine countries will compete.
India have handed wild card entries to Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, Krishna Mishra, Lakshya Gwala and Yashi Jain.
A junior event will also take place from November 20 to 24.
“Squash is one of the most exciting, challenging sports that requires an exceptional level of agility, quick strategic mindset and physical strength. The Tour was introduced with the aim of helping our players enhance their game and encourage global-level competition,” SRFI secretary general Cyrus Poncha said.
Divyansh wins gold, Kiran Jadhav silver in Asian Airgun Championship
New Delhi: Former world No.1 among men Divyansh Singh Panwar won the junior air rifle gold in the 15th Asian Airgun championship in Deaegu, Korea, on Friday.
Divyansh topped the two stages of qualificiation and beat Bang Seungho of Korea 17-9 for the gold.
Sri Karthik Sabari Raj bagged the bronze while Vidit Jain placed fourth. In the men’s event, Kiran Jadhav was beaten to the gold 16-10 by Park Hajun of Korea. Both the shooters had tied in the second stage leading up to the gold match. The Korean had topped the first stage of qualification with 632.2, marginally ahead of Arjun Babuta who eventually placed seventh.
The reigning world champion Rudrankksh Patil finished fourth.
ITF men’s tournament: Jang Yunseok knocks out Sidharth Rawat
Lucky loser Jang Yunseok of Korea sustained his dream run and knocked out fifth seed Sidharth Rawat 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 in the quarterfinals of the $25,000 ITF men’s tennis tournament at the Indore Tennis Club on Friday.
Sidharth looked to have lost steam in the decider as he managed to eke out a mere six points in all in six games, as the Korean asserted his supreme fitness.
Another lucky loser Woobin Shin added to India’s woes, as he beat Vishnu Vardhan for the loss of six games to set up a semifinal against top seed Oliver Crawford of USA.
The Indian challenge ended in singles, as third seed Dominik Palan beat Dalwinder Singh 6-3, 6-3.
In doubles, Rithvik Bollipalli and NIki Poonacha were in line for a third title in as many weeks as they beat the second seeds Parikshit Somani and Manish Sureshkumar in straight sets. They will face top seeds Boris Butulija and Vishnu Vardhan in the final.
Singles (quarterfinals): Oliver Crawford (USA) bt Kazuki Nishiwaki (Jpn) 6-3, 2-6, -1; Woobin Shin (Kor) bt Vishnu Vardhan 6-1, 7-5; Dominik Palan (Cze) bt Dalwinder Singh 6-3, 6-3; Jang Yunseok (Kor) bt Sidharth Rawat 3-6, 7-5, 6-0.
Doubles (semifinals): Boris Butulija (Srb) & Vishnu Vardhan bt Nicholas Bybel (USA) & Adil Kalyanpur 6-4, 6-7(10), [10-6]; Rithvik Bollipalli & Niki Poonacha bt Parikshit Somani & Manish Sureshkumar 7-5, 6-4.
Ana Sofia beats Karman Kaur Thandi
New Delhi: Third seed Karman Kaur Thandi was beaten 7-5, 7-6(2) by Ana Sofia Sanchez Palau of Mexico in the pre-quarterfinals of the $60,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament in Calgary, Canada.
Aleena wins AITA National Series U-14 title
Jalandhar: Aleena Farid beat her doubles partner Diya Chaudhary 6-4, 6-2 to clinch the girls title in the AITA National Series under-14 tennis tournament at the Singha Sports Academy on Friday.
In the boys final, Showrya Samala will play the second seed M Diganth.
Indian men start in style
KOCHI: Pradeep Patel scored twice as India thrashed Kazakhstan 4-0 in its IBSA Asia-Oceania blind football championship men’s opener at the United Sports Centre, Kakkanad, on Friday. However, the Indian women lost to Japan 0-2.