From modest beginnings in 2007, this year's Women's Indian Open will be a giant leap for women's professional golf in the country.
The National Open’s fourth edition has the blessings of the Ladies European Tour (LET), which makes it only the second LET event to staged in the country. Also, the coming on board of Hero Honda has allowed the Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) to enhance the prize money by a whopping $180,000 as compared to last year’s offering of $120,000.
Ensconced as one of the premier events on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT), the 11-13 November tri-sanctioned event will witness defending champion Phatlum Pornanong extend her love affair with the DLF Golf & Country Club by making it three in a row. Also on view will be Lee-Ann Pearce, the current LET order of merit leader. Veteran Simi Mehra, the only Indian to feature regularly on Tours abroad, and the young Sharmila Nicollet, ranked No. 1 on the WGAI order of merit, will spearhead the country’s challenge.
The field of 122 will see 46 players from the LET and an equal number from the LAGT. The 18 Indians will comprise 12 pros and six amateurs. The remaining numbers will be filled through invites.
Though unlikely, an Indian champion will stand to gain significantly.
Apart from the cheque of $45,000, the winner will get a two-year exemption on the LET. The top four on the WGAI order or merit also stand to win a two-year exemption on the LET, though on its subsidiary tour.