THE REPURCUSSIONS of rescheduling the Women's Indian Open are beginning to show. The event, earlier slated for February, was rescheduled to begin from March 25. As a result, quality players are facing the aftermath.
Smriti Mehra, the only Indian in contention, suffered a heat stroke on the second day on Thursday. While many have fallen sick, a few of them have even pulled out of the event. Mehra, currently ninth, is suffering from dehydration. "I have an upset stomach and am feeling dizzy, but I'll definitely try to recover," she said.
On being asked why the tournament did not face a similar problem last year, Mehra admitted it could have something to do with the schedule of the event. "Last year it was held in early March. But this year it is unbelievably hot. Players are passing out so often. In fact, they may not be able to apply the cut as there are not enough players."
That was indeed the case. The Women's Golf Association of India (WGAI) had said at the outset that the cut would be applied after 36 holes to the leading 50 players but the limit had to be lifted due to the number of pullouts and golfers falling sick.
There were others too who were affected by the conditions. Jenni Kuosa, a World Cupper, passed out and consistently complained of dizziness. Heidi Chua, a player from the Philippines confirmed the players' discomfort. "A lot of golfers were carrying a sun umbrella. A lot of them were dehydrated and had a headache. I drank more water than I normally do."
Heidi agreed the rescheduling had affected the players. "In last year's Thai Open, there were some last minute changes due to which a few girls pulled out. Same is the case here."
She also complained of few drinking areas on the greens. "Last year the temperature was not so high but we did not face this problem. This time, there is only one joint where we can help ourselves to some drinks and water."
...but Pornanong keeps her cool to maintain sole lead
THE SIMMERING conditions on the second day of the Women's Indian Open appeared to take a toll on the Indian players as none of them performed to their potential at the DLF Golf and Country Club on Thursday.
Smriti Mehra, who had finished one-over 73 and was tied fifth on the first day, further slipped to be ninth. Mehra, who teed off from the first hole bogeyed on the 3rd (par 3), 4th (par 4), and 7th (par 4). On the back nine, she dropped a shot on the 13th to return a card of one-over 73. Tanya Wadhwa was the lone exception as she moved up with a round of 75 that left her tied 21st while Kiran Matharu slipped three spots to be tied 24th after a round of five-over 77.
Irina Brar slipped 14 places to be placed tied 35th. Dropping five shots on the last four holes, the Chandigarh player attributed a sprained back to her dismal performance. "My back was hurting a lot and I had to literally bend to putt."
However, Pornanong Phatlum, who had finished Day I at the top with two-under 70, continued her march with an identical card to set herself up for back-to-back titles. Happy with the two-shot lead, the Thai teenager said, "I will switch to the aggressive mode now and try and widen the cushion between me and my rivals."
Pornanong, who won the Thailand Ladies Open last month, added, "I believe in my way of play and that's probably why my game is consistent."
Following the Thai was China's Chun Wang whose round of three-under 69 was also the day's lowest.
Taiwan's Chen Kuan-Pei came up with a hole-in-one on the 16th (par 3) to be tied 10th. The four World Cuppers in the fray failed to put their best foot forward. Apart from Matharu's insipid display, Jenni Kuosa was tied sixth with a two-over 74, Maria Priscila was joint 17th, Danielle Montgomery settled with a two-over and was tied 24th.
140 - Pornanong Phathlum 0 (THA) 70-70
142 - Chun Wang (CHN) 73-69
143 - Yuki Sakurai (JPN) 73-70
144 - Huei Ju Shih (TPE) 72-72, Jaya Lydia Ivana (INA) 71-73
145 - Yun Jye Wei (TPE) 74-71, Jenni Kuosa (FIN) 71-74, Nontaya Sirisawang (THA) 73-72
146 - Smriti Mehra (IND) 73-73