For Sharmila Nicollet, it's been a good journey so far but the 20-year-old isn't satisfied yet. The determination in her voice just showcases how hungry she is for more.
After becoming the youngest Indian woman to seal the final card for the 2012 Ladies European Tour after a six-way play-off in the Q School at the picturesque La Manga course, Sharmila has her priorities straight.
"With this card, my priority is Europe," the tired Sharmila told HT. And whom does the leggy golfer want to emulate? "Caroline Hedwall of course," she added.
"What Caroline did last year was simply fantastic, winning four LET tournaments in her rookie year after clinching the Q school. My goal is to win at least one LET event this year. I know it's going to be difficult because I have to cope with the pressure, putt constantly which has often let me down and have consistency but it would be simply brilliant to follow in Caroline's footsteps," Sharmila said.
Sweden's Hedwall was the LET rookie of the year last season. After becoming the second Indian woman, after Smriti Mehra, to earn a LET tour card, was it difficult to keep the momentum going and pressure in check in Spain in the two stages of Q school? After all, she played 165 holes, nine rounds and three holes in a play-off, in 12 days. "It was very hectic for sure. I've never had to play 90 holes in a row," she said giggling.
After leading in the first and second rounds, she finished at tied 28th in the final round. With six golfers making scores of seven over, LET rules called for a play off. Thus with three cards up for grabs, Sharmila sealed the final berth with a six foot birdie on the South Course. "It was such a dramatic finish! It was one of the best moments in my career," she recalled fondly.
Sharmila has recently made major changes in her putting and chipping.
"My game has improved a lot but I still need to get more comfortable with it," the girl from Bangalore said.