Diksha fights back on back nine but slips to T-3 in Irish Open
India’s Diksha Dagar overcame a rocky front nine to stage a magnificent comeback on the back nine for a card of 1-under 71 on the third day of the KPMG Women’s Irish Open.
Diksha, however, slipped to tied third as Anne Van Dam, lying second after the second round moved up to a three-shot lead with a second straight 6-under 66.
Van Dam was in lead at 15-under, which included three birdies in last fourth holes of the third round. Swede Lisa Pettersson (67) was sole second and Alice Hewson (68) was T-3 with Diksha, four shots behind leader Van Dam.
Among the other Indians, Tvesa Malik, fighting to regain her form, produced a sensational finish with an eagle and three birdies in last four holes in her round of 3-under 69. She rose from the cutline at T-59 to T-42.
Vani Kapoor (74) was T-54 and Ridhima Dilawari (75) was 66th. Amandeep Drall had missed the cut.
Diksha had a three-putt bogey on the second and again dropped a shot on third, when her tee shot came to rest on the edge of the fairway, from where she was unable to get a clean shot, even though preferred lies were in use.
She quickly recovered with three birdies in a row from fifth to seventh, but again dropped a double bogey on Par-4 eighth. She turned in 1-over for front nine.
Two-time LET winner Diksha, who led after the first two rounds, had a trickier day with six birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey on her scorecard.
As it happened in the second round, she fought back well on the back nine. She birdied 10th and 11th, missed a couple of chances and added a third on 17th, where for the second she holed a long birdie putt.
However, with the famous Cypress Tree in the middle of the 18th fairway coming in the line of her shot, she ended with a bogey as her par putt slid past the cup.
“It was disappointing to drop all those shots, but I am happy that I fought back well. My game is in a good shape, but I need a strong and steady final round with a fast on the final day,” said Diksha.
Van Dam fired a solid round of 66 to open a three-shot lead with one round remaining. The Dutch star shot 69 and 66 on the first two days and was one shot behind the 36-hole leader Diksha.
Van Dam got off to a good start with a birdie on the first and then rolled in another on the third before adding another on the ninth. She made another birdie on 11 before dropping her only shot of the day on the 13th hole.
However, she bounced back and finished in style with three birdies in her final four holes to seal a round of 66. The Dutch star also led at the 54-hole mark at the tournament in 2022. She is trying to win first LET title since 2019.
Sweden’s Lisa Pettersson sits in solo second place on the leader board after firing a round of 67 (-5) to move to 12-under-par. Pettersson, who won the Helsingborg Open earlier this season, had only two bogeys on her scorecard and rolled in seven birdies for her round of five-under.
England’s Alice Hewson and Diksha sit in a share of third place on 11-under-par after rounds of 68 (-4) and 71 (-1), respectively.
Czechia’s Sara Kouskova produced the round of the week thus far, firing a 64 (-8) to climb up the leader board.
The 2022 LET Access Series Order of Merit winner now sits in a tie for fifth place on 10-under-par alongside Australia’s Kirsten Rudgeley and French duo Anne-Lise Caudal and Emma Grechi.
Balaji and Ramkumar lose doubles final
Unseeded Daniel Cukierman and Joshua Paris beat the fourth seeds Sriram Balaji and Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 6-4 in the doubles final of the €73,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Mallorca, Spain.
The champion team collected €4,250 and 75 ATP points. Balaji and Ramkumar who had beaten the top seeds in the semifinals, pocketed 50 points and €2,450.
- Kamesh Srinivasan
€73,000 Challenger, Mallorca, Spain
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