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Shaky landing, but Davies confident of title defence

other Updated: Dec 09, 2011 02:18 IST
Sharmistha Chaudhuri
Sharmistha Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times
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Troubles seem to follow Laura Davies whenever she decides to play in India. Last year, the defending champion arrived at the DLF Golf and Country Club sans her clubs. This time around, her caddie, Johnny Scott, missed the flight due to visa problems.

He will now make it to the venue of the Hero Women's Indian Open a few hours before tee off.

"There's always something," sighed the seven-time winner of the LET Order of Merit on Thursday. "It was a strange week last year, but something must have gone right. I'm looking forward to the challenge this year."

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Davies will have to go all out because the fifth edition of the tournament has attracted more players from the LET and LAGT, all vying for the title in the $300,000 (Rs 1.54 crore) event.

This year the greens will see Swedish rookie Caroline Hedwall and compatriot Sophie Gustafson in action.

Hedwall, currently placed at No. 3 on the money list, will be hoping a win here can catapult her to finish 2011 as the second best player in Europe.

Delhi Belly
With three LET wins this year, Hedwall is the one to look out for. However, a suspected case of food poisoning may cause her discomfort. But she took to the course this morning during the Pro-Am.

The 108-field tournament also stars South African Lee-Anne Pace, two-time champ Thai Phatlum Pornanong and US Solheim Cup member Christina Kim.

Indian challenge
The home challenge will be led by youngsters Sharmila Nicollet, Nalini Singh Siwach and Smriti Mehra. Sharmila, the current leader on the domestic tour, has been practicing on her new swing.

"I just have to trust what I learnt and apply it this week," the 20-year-old from Bangalore said.

"It will be a great experience for all of us here to learn from the great ladies."

Smriti, who has recently recovered from a broken ankle, felt this would provide a good exposure to Indian golfers.

"I'm not feeling intimidated by the field. I hope to carry the confidence of winning at Panchkula this week forward," said 22-year-old Nalini.