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 Avani moves ahead of Amandeep, Pranavi in the 11th leg of Hero WPGT

 Harpal Singh Bedi 

Panchkula: Avani Prashanth returned a  superb six-under 66 to climb to the top of the leader board at the end of the second round of the 11th leg of the Hero WPGT at the Panchkula Golf Club here on Thursday.

The cut fell at 15-over 159 and 18 players who made the cut will figure in the final round.

Avani had the poor first round of 76 but she made an astounding  10-shot improvement as she had four birdies on the front nine beginning with one on the first hole and three in a row from fifth to seventh. 

She had two more on the 10th and 15th and no bogeys. The highlight was that she picked birdies on three of the four Par-5s as she is now 2-under 142 and one shot ahead of Amandeep Drall and Pranavi Urs.

Despite being an amateur Avani, is having a great season. She won the third leg in Mumbai and has since finished runner-up at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurugram in the eighth leg and was again second in the 10th leg last week in Chandigarh.

Amandeep, the winner last week and was placed second after the first day, stayed there with the round of 73 that included a double bogey on Par-4 10th. She had three bogeys against four birdies but at 1-under 143 she is breathing down Avani’s neck.

Pranavi Urs, a four-time winner on the Hero WPGT, slipped to 2 over 74 as she had three birdies, three bogeys, and a double bogey on the Par-5 seventh.

Saaniya Sharma had the biggest swing in scores from the first to the second day as she followed up her first-round 79 with a second-round 66, which was flawless and equal to leader Avani’s card. She, however, had an eagle on the Par-5 third and four other birdies without dropping any shots.

Vani Kapoor (71), Jahanvi Bakshi (72), and Seher Atwal (75) were tied for fifth at 2-over 146, while Rhea Jha (73), Lakhmehar Pardesi (79), and Gaurika Bishnoi (76) were occupying places eighth to 10th.

With just one shot separating the top three, a keen battle is in the offing in the leading group, but right behind them are Saaniya, Vani, and Jahanvi.

HSB

In-form Amandeep starts favourite in 11th leg of Hero WPGT

Harpal Singh Bedi

Panchkula: In-form Amandeep Drall, is all set for an encore, having won at Chandigarh last week, the Kapurthala based golfer starts strong favourite in the 11th leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Panchkula Golf Club. 

Amandeep , who has gained a lot of confidence with a string of events in Europe, was in excellent form in the 10th leg where she was a runaway winner and closed the week with a ladies course record 7-under 65 on the last day.

Two other players showing a lot of confidence on their return from the European sojourn are Vani Kapoor and Gaurika Bishnoi, who are also in the field.

The event this week carries a purse of Rs. 9 lakhs and Amandeep Drall and Vani Kapoor occupy the top two spots on the Hero Order of Merit.

Among the numerous youngsters who have impressed in the recent past are the Bakshi sisters, Jahanvi and Hitaashee, amateur Avani Prashanth and Lakhmehar Pardesi, who won her maiden title at the NOIDA leg.

Zara Anand, a young amateur, who rose through the ranks in the US Kids Golf events in the last few years, will also be hoping to turn in a performance worthy of notice.

Pranavi Urs, who excelled as an amateur on the Hero WPGT, and then won as a pro, too, will be hoping to find that magic once again as she has now recovered from her injury.

HSB

Tennis Premier League: Yuki to lead Delhi Binny’s Brigade   

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: Former junior World No. 1, Yuki Bhambri will spearhead Delhi Binny’s Brigade challenge in the star-studded, eight-team competitive field in the 3rd edition of the Tennis Premier League, to be played at the Celebration Club, Andheri, Mumbai from December 9 to 14.

Announcing this, TPL Co-Founders  Kunal Thakkur, ex-National Player, and Mrunal Jain told media persons at the DLTA, here, which was also the first of the two Talent Days held in the city to pick the rest of the Delhi Binny’s Brigade squad.

Kashish Bhatia won the women’s event at the Talent Day and will fill the second women players slot for Delhi Binny’s Bridge, while runner-up Prerna Bhambri will turn out for Chennai Stallions.

Also present on the occasion were Ankita Bhambri, mentor of the Delhi team, Nandan Bal, Ex-Davis Cup, and Fed Cup coach and mentor of the Chennai Stallions, Zeeshan Ali, Davis Cup coach, Rohit Rajpal, Captain of the Davis Cup team, and Aditya Khanna, Captain of the over-35 Indian team and a member of the Delhi squad.

Team owners Sneh Patel, of Delhi Binny’s Brigade and Shailesh and Sonal Alagiya of Chennai Stallions, were also present.

Yuki, winner of the 2009 Australian Open Junior Championship and flagbearer for the Indian Davis Cup squad for many years, will have Manish Sureshkumar and Thailand’s Peantarn Plipuech as teammates.

Davis cuppers, Saketh Myneni (Pune Jaguars), Ramkumar Ramanathan (Mumbai Leon Army) Purav Raja (Chennai Stallions) Jeevan N (Bengaluru Spartans) Arjun Kadhe (Hyderabad Strikers) Prajnesh Gunneswaran (Rajasthan Tigers) Divij Sharan (Gujarat Panthers,) will lead their respective teams.

The enhanced TPL 3.0 will have India No. 1 Ankita Raina and Rutuja Bhosle, besides participation from six international women players, who are Samantha Murray Sharan from Great Britain, ranked 206, Diana Marcinkevica of Latvia, ranked 262, Thailand’s Peangtarn Plipuech, ranked 294, Sabina Sharipova of Uzbekistan, ranked 317, Valeriya Strakhova of Ukraine, ranked 379 and Sofia Shapatava.

In the player’s auction, held in Mumbai in March this year, Ramkumar Ramanathan emerged the surprise pick, garnering the highest bid of the day of Rs 4.5 lakhs, and was picked by the Mumbai Leon Army.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran was picked by Rajasthan Tigers for Rs 3.70 lakhs, while Saketh Myneni went to Pune Jaguars for Rs 4.40 lakhs. Divij Sharan was picked by Gujarat Panthers for 4.10 lakhs, while Purav Raja went to the Chennai Stallions for 3 lakhs.

Ankita Raina garnered the highest price for women’s players, picked by Hyderabad Strikers for 4.10 lakhs, while Rutuja Bhosle was picked by Pune Jaguars for Rs 3 lakhs

While each team picked two men’s and one women’s player at the auction, another men’s and women’s player for each team will emerge from the Talent Days.

Kunal Thakkur and Mrunal Jain promise an enthralling championship this year and aim to create an environment that is the perfect amalgamation of sports and entertainment.

Kunal said, “We are excited that this year we will also be having international players playing in the League. We are so happy that the entire tennis fraternity comes forward every year to make this league a success. The intention is to make tennis win and we are extremely grateful to AITA and MSLTA for their unconditional support.”

“We are thankful to all our owners and sponsors who have shown such faith in our league. All I can say is that this is just the beginning. We intend to make the league one of its kind in India. The live telecast of all matches will be something very exciting for Indian tennis players and their fans,” said Mrunal Jain.

A total of 250 players have already registered for the Delhi Talent day in various categories, who will be vying for the different age group slots on the Delhi team.

  The teams:

Mumbai Leon Army: Ramkumar Ramanathan, Nikki Poonacha, Sofia Shapatava (Gerogia)

Delhi Binny’s Brigade: Yuki Bhambri, Manish Sureshkumar, Peangtarn Plipuech (Thailand)

Chennai Stallions: Purav Raja, Sidharth Rawat, Samantha Murray Sharan (Great Britain)

Bengaluru Spartans: Jeevan N, N Srirama Balaji, Sabina Sharipova (Uzbekistan)

Hyderabad Strikers: Arjun Kadhe, Vishnu Vardhan, Ankita Raina

Rajasthan Tigers: Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Aryan Goveas, Diana Marcinkevica (Latvia)

Gujarat Panthers: Divij Sharan, Vijay Sundar Prashant, Valeryla Strakhova (Ukraine)

Pune Jaguars: Saketh Myneni, Ishaque Iqbal, Rutuja Bhosle.

HSB

Amandeep cards superb 65 to win 10-leg of Hero WPGT

Harpal Singh Bedi

Amandeep Drall in action during final round at Chandigarh Golf Club.JPG

Chandigarh: Amandeep Drall fired eight birdies against just one bogey for a superb 7-under 65 to claim the 10th leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour by three shots at the Chandigarh Golf Club.

The win also cemented Amandeep’s place on top of the Hero Order of Merit, which she was already leading.

Amateur Avani Prashanth, who shared the overnight lead with Amandeep after two rounds, was left three shots behind despite a fine 4-under 68. She finished in second place. Vani Kapoor tripped to one-over 73 and was fourth, while Jahanvi Bakshi (68) was third.

Amandeep, for whom this was her first title in 2021, finished with a superb 9-under 207, while Avani was 6-under 210 and Jahanvi was 4-under 212. Vani Kapoor also had an under-par total of 1-under 215.

Amandeep, who gained tremendously by competing in Europe over the last few months, had started the week with 4-under 68 before slipping on the second day with 74.

In the final round, she fell back by two shots after the first hole as she bogeyed the first, and playing partner and overnight co-leader, Avani had a birdie on the same hole.

Soon after Amandeep found her form as she birdied second, fourth, sixth, and seventh to turn in 3-under 33. Avani dropped a shot on fourth where Amandeep had a birdie for a two-shot swing. That helped Amandeep move up by one. Like Amandeep, Avani also birdied the sixth and seventh but was still one behind at the turn.

On the back nine, Amandeep drove off on her own with three birdies in a row from 11th to 13th, while Avani had gained only on 13th. Both birdied the 16th but with two holes left and three shots clear Amandeep made no mistake and Avani was unable to find any more birdies.

Jahanvi Bakshi could have given Avani a run for second place but suffered a double bogey on the Par-3 14th, and even three birdies in the last three holes for a 68 gave her only the third place.

Vani Kapoor could not get her putts to fall and finished with two birdies against three bogeys in her 73.

Gaurika Bishnoi shot her best card of the week at 2-under 70 and was tied fifth with Hitaashee Bakshi (71), while the winner of the ninth leg, 

Lakhmehar Pardesi (72) was tied seventh with Pranavi Urs (73). Amateur Puneet K Bajwa (77) and Seher Atwal (76) completed the Top-10.

It was a good low-scoring event with no less than 10 under par rounds and the top four players finishing with under par totals in the Rs.10 lakh event.

HSB