Harpal Singh Bedi
Hyderabad: Hitaashee Bakshi survived a double bogey and late charge from the favourite Pranavi Urs to win the 11th leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Boulder Hills Golf & Country Club. This was her third title win of the season
The winner hit a double bogey on the Par-5 seventh hole on the front nine, to card an even par 72 in the final round.
Local challenger Sneha Singh, lying one shot adrift and in second place behind Hitaashee, had a rough day with a double bogey, three bogeys against three birdies for a 74 that saw her slip to third place. She still awaits her maiden trophy as a professional, even though she has emerged triumphant as an amateur.
Hitaashee extended her lead on the very first hole with a birdie as Pranavi parred and Sneha bogeyed. On the next Sneha got back the shot, but Hitaashee dropped a shot and Pranavi parred yet again in a steady manner and the trio was exactly where they had started and stayed so for the next two holes with pars from all three.
As Pranavi and Sneha birdied the fifth, Hitaashee birdied the sixth but she double bogeyed the Par-5 seventh and Sneha did the same as Pranavi safely parred the hole.
Hitaashee and Sneha were 1-over for the day and Pranavi was 1-under and had reduced the gap with Hitaashee from four to just two. Sneha was still one behind.
Pranavi dropped a shot on 11th and Sneha dropped a shot on 13th as Hitaashee increased her lead. Then all three birdied the Par-5 14th. After that Pranavi stepped up with two timely birdies on 16th and 17th.
When the trio reach the 18th tee, Hitaashee was 7-under for the tournament and Pranavi had crept up to 6-under, while Sneha was 5-under.
Pranavi needed a birdie on 18th and needed Hitaashee to only par the hole to force a play-off. Sneha needed an eagle to catch up Hitaashee. who parred, Pranavi dropped a shot and fell two behind and ended second. Even Sneha bogeyed to fall three back and finish third.
Hitaashee’s steady play saw her play the back nine without a blemish and one birdie and that carried the day for her as Pranavi did have three birdies, but she also dropped two shots on the back nine.
Her earlier wins this season came on the third and sixth legs of the Hero WPG Tour.
Nayanika Sanga, who landed an eagle two on Par-4 ninth shot even par 72 and at 3-under 213 for 54 holes, finished fourth, while amateur Keerthana R Nair shot 73, including a double bogey on Par-5 seventh, which on the final day proved a big trouble spot for many golfers. Keerthana was fifth and the best amateur.
Khushi Khanijau (72) ended sole sixth, while another amateur Heena Kang (75) was seventh at 2-over 218. Shweta Mansingh (73) and Seher Atwal (75) were tied for eighth place at 4-over 220, while amateur Vidhatri Urs (77) ensured the presence of three amateurs in the Top-10. She was 5-over 221.
Pranavi stayed on top of the Hero Order of Merit as her earnings topped Rs.10 lakhs to reach Rs.10,89,500. Hitaashee Bakshi’s third win of the season took her earnings to Rs.8,15,000 and is now in second place with Seher Atwal (Rs.7,50,000) in third place.