Indians bank on home advantage

NEW DELHI: For Sharmila Nicollet, the 2013 season has come as a contrast to last year when she earned a card on the Ladies European Tour.

A multi-toe fracture in April had forced her out of action for four months, resulting in pull-outs from several LET events, along with a few domestic tournaments. She also lost her LET card besides suffering a dip in form and confidence.

But ahead of the $300,000 Hero Women's Indian Open, that starts with the Pro-Am on Wednesday , a rejuvenated Sharmila feels she has a fair chance to be in contention at the challenging Delhi Golf Club this week.

“I hardly had a season. I started off well, but the injury kept me away from action for four months. And it was tough, The injury is almost healed now. I went to rehab, and have been working on my fitness, trying hard to get back my rhythm and shape. Physically , I feel stronger now,“ said Sharmila, who is planning to go for the LET qualifiers this year.

“I have played a lot here as an amateur. I will be out in the field with a strategy. I feel the Indians, including me, will have a fair chance in the event. I just need to put together three days of consistent golf,“ added the lanky Bengalurean golfer, who will lead the 20-strong Indian challenge in the field of 107.

Local girl Vani Kapoor, who has won a domestic pro tou event at the DGC in October, will also be one of the Indian contenders to watch out for at the tri-sanctioned event. Meanwhile, Order of Merit leader Neha Tripathi felt that Indians would have an edge at the event, considering the nature of the course.

“Overseas players are comfortable on longer courses, so we have a better chance, it's like a home course.“

Sharmila however warned, “There is no room for an error at this course. You need to be very accurate off the tees in such a tight course. It will be a great challenge.“

Home advantage notwithstanding, the Indian golfers should be ready for a strong challenge from LET stars Gwladys Nocera and Holly Clyburn among others.?

Harendra to renew rivalry with Rashid

MUMBAI: Defending champion Harendra Gupta will be chal lenged by Professional Golf Tour of India Order of Merit leader, Rashid Khan and 'rookie' Angad Cheema at the Crompton Greaves Open 2013, which tees off at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club here on Wednesday.

The Pro-Am event will be played on December 1. The four-day event will offer a prize money worth a crore of rupees. CG is part of the $4 billion Avantha Group. Besides them, seasoned pros like Ashok Kumar, Mukesh Kumar, Shamim Khan, Digvijay Singh, Amandeep Johl, Om Prakash Chouhan and Manav Jaini, to name a few, promise an action-packed four days.

Gupta, who won the title last year after a playoff with Rashid, said he would give his best.

( Source : dc )
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