Karlstejn (Czech Republic): Diksha Dagar, the current runner-up on the Rookie of the Year rankings, is aiming for her second win of the season at the €120,000 Tipsport Czech Ladies Open to be played from 23-25 Aug 2019 at the Golf Resort Karlštejn.
The 18-year-old golfer is the lone Indian representative in 138 players strong international field including 50 from Ladies European Tour (LET), 50 from LET Access Series (LETAS), 10 Federation exchanges, 10 promoter LET invites and 18 Czech Golf Federation invites.
Diksha, who suffered from a complete hearing impairment for first six years of her life, has come a long way, thanks to golf. Aged 16, Diksha had won a Deaflympics Silver medal for India in 2017. Currently, she is 14th on the LET Order of Merit and second on the Rookie list, with a win and a Top 10 – T5th at the NSW Open – under her belt this season.
Diksha’s last three professional outings include the Major debut at the Evian Championship, followed by the AIG Women’s British Open and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. The experience of playing in the Majors was a great learning experience but she missed the cut in all three.
“The season so far has been good. This year I have played in three huge tournaments including two majors. It was a great experience and I came to know about what I need to do to prepare in future. When I played my first major it was completely different level of golf. It was quite tough,” shared Diksha after her pre-event practice round.
“The courses were very long with thick grass. The greens were pretty fast. The world’s top players were in the field, they hit very long. I need to improve my distance to compete against them. But this experience has made me stronger. It has made me confident that ‘Yes, I can do it!’ I have learned what has to be done to compete at Majors. I have to improve my fitness and it is a crucial part of the game. If I can improve my fitness I can reach the green on a par 5 in two shots easily, which will create birdie opportunities.”
“I also have to improve my putting skills. At the Majors, the greens are tricky and super-fast. The green speed goes around 11 or 12” she added.
Another big change in her short professional career yet is the change of golf equipment. Diksha, who was earlier using Titleist, has switched to Callaway after the Evian Championship.
“I am using the Epic Flash driver and I have also changed the putter. I have moved to Callaway completely in terms of my golf set,” said Diksha, who is only the second Indian winner on the Ladies European Tour (LET) after Aditi Ashok.
Having tested the waters at a couple of Majors already and with a new equipment, Diksha is raring to make an impact at Golf Resort Karlštejn this week where she believes that hole number two is the best hole in the Czech Republic.
“This is a challenging course, lots of up and down. Yesterday, I played the front nine and I did the back nine today. The fairways and greens are soft because of the rain. I also saw the beautiful Karlštejn Castle over the mountain,” added Diksha.
The second ranked player on the Rookie of the Year list, Diksha is also aiming to fight for the Top Rookie honours on the LET.
“I am going to focus on the Rookie of the Year title and I also have to improve my game. Now, I have started doing fitness as well. I remember, from my experiences in National Camps, what needs to be done to increase my strength so I am working on it. For golf, it’s important to strengthen your shoulders and the lower body as well, to get good distance and accuracy.”
“I am also excited that, in a few weeks, I will get to play in my home country, in the Hero Women’s Indian Open. It is going to be fun. I am very confident all Indian girls will finish high at the Women’s Indian Open,” added Diksha before heading off to the putting green.