Woman golfer Saaniya starts favourite

Bengaluru, Aug 11 (IANS) Buoyed by her first title of the season last week, Saaniya Sharma will start as firm favourite at the 14th leg of the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour to be played at the Clover Greens here from Wednesday.

Saaniya, who rejuvenated her form with an inspiring victory at Coimbatore, will be eager to continue her good work and break into the top five in the Order of Merit list. The Chandigarh professional is currently languishing in the latter half of the leaderboard with one win from 13 appearances.

However, she will have to overcome strong challenges from Delhi’s Vani Kapoor and Panchkula’s Amandeep Drall, who occupy the first and second position respectively in the money list.

The Rs.5,00,000 event will see 14 professionals and lone amateur Trisha Sunil vying for top honours.

Vani, who has with total earnings of Rs.13,65,200 from 13 appearances, has been on a purple patch with four wins and six runner-up finishes, and will look to get back to winning ways and clinch her fifth title of the year.

Rookie Amandeep, with Rs. 9,54,935 earning, has played consistent golf throughout the season with one win and three runners-up finishes. She will be keen to reduce the deficit with Vani at the top of the leaderboard.

Kolkata’s Neha Tripathi will also look to set the ball rolling and annex her first title of the year. Kapurthala’s Gursimar Badwal, with total earnings of Rs.6,06,566, is currently at the fifth spot in the money list. She will be eager to make an impact and push hard for her maiden professional victory.

The event will see the return of Sharmila Nicollet. The Bengaluru golfer, who skipped the last two events due to her European Tour commitments, is yet to open her account this year and will look to end her title drought at the Clover Greens.

Pune Shweta Galande will seek to take inspiration from her title winning performance here in 2013, and claim her second victory on the Tour.

Delhi’s trio of Mehar Atwal, Gauri Monga and Ankita Tiwana along with Jaipur’s Afshan Fatima are the other contenders. Veteran Smriti Mehra, who is fourth in the order of merit, is playing overseas and will not be seen in action here.

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