Women's golf: Nalini ends title drought, wins 5th leg

Women's golf: Nalini ends title drought, win 5th legGurgaon: Nalini Singh Siwach got her revenge and the first title this season as she clinched the Hero-DLF GCC event, the fifth leg on the Hero-WGAI Tour on Friday. Nalini, whose home course is the DLF Golf and Country overcame the nervousness of two double bogeys on the front nine and held her nerve in the closing stages with one birdie and five pars in the last six holes for a card of 75.

Nalini totalled 217, four clear of Smriti Mehra (80) and Vani Kapoor (72), who were tied for second at 221.

It was the season’s first win for Nalini, who is coached by Anitya Chand, also the coach for Vani. “It feels nice to finally win after coming close many times and it becomes even better because this is my home course,” said an elated Nalini, who was second last week. She was also third on two earlier occasions. For Vani it was her second runner-up finish and she has one win. In five events, there have been four winners, with only Smriti winning twice.

With Smriti dropping from the top with a horrendous run of three bogeys followed by a quadruple bogey on the par-3 16th, Nalini just had to ensure she made no similar costly mistakes. Smriti ended with an 80 to be in a tie for second with Vani.

Vani who had a stunning three-under 33 on the back nine had the best round on the final day. She could well have pushed Nalini a bit more but for a poor start and then another two bogeys on the back nine. She had six birdies, six bogeys and six pars in a roller-coaster of a round.
She began badly going to three-over in first six holes, and she turned in three-over as she birdied the seventh and bogeyed ninth. But from tenth to 13th, she was on fire with four birdies in a row.

At that stage she was only two behind Nalini, but bogeys on 15th and 17th ruined her charge and the birdie on 18th only helped her climb back to second to tie with Smriti.

Nalini, starting one behind Smriti, bogeyed the second, but made up with a birdie on third to catch up with Smriti at that stage. But suddenly two back-to-back doubles saw her slip to four-over as Smriti, steady till then, for front nine was four shots in lead.

On the back nine, Nalini was composed with a birdie on tenth and bogey on 12th and then she played a series of pars broken by a welcome birdie on 16th. Smriti meanwhile collapsed with three bogeys from 12th to 14th and then added to her woes with a triple bogey on par-3 16th, where she went into the water once and then missed a small putt.

Neha Tripathi (74) was fourth at 227, while Saaniya Sharma (80) slipped to fifth at 229 and Meghna Bal (75) ended sixth at 232.

The sixth leg will be held at Golden Greens in Gurgaon next week.