Diksha Dagar to defend title at South African Women’s Open
Change has been a constant in Diksha Dagar’s golf career, one that has seen her transform from a top amateur to a rookie professional and to a champion on the Ladies European Tour (LET) when she won the South African Women’s Open this time last year.
The change in status, which was followed by appearances in two Majors last season, has been aided by frequent change of equipment. “Since she covered a lot of ground early on (in terms of results), it gave us the freedom to experiment with new clubs,” said Colonel Narinder Dagar, who was on the bag when his daughter won in Cape Town. In fact, the chopping and changing has gone up since Dagar turned professional in 2018, a rarity among professionals. The 19-year-old has her take on this. “Not only is the feel much better, changing clubs breaks monotony.”
Excited by the possibilities with the new equipment, Dagar is hoping not much has changed at the Westlake Golf Club when her title defence commences on Thursday. Keen to soak in the sights that had enamoured her last year—the starkness of the barren Silvermine mountains and the picturesque river front on either side of the parkland style golf stayed etched among other memories. Amid the blend of old-world charm and modern course layout at Westlake, playing smart golf is uppermost on the mind. Two events into the new season on the LET, Dagar also has a new putter in the bag in the hope it will change her fortunes on the putting green. A season of playing top-flight golf has made her aware that gaining in driving distance and getting better around the greens is essential for more success. The initial results with the new putter are encouraging as Dagar had a top-10 finish in New South Wales two weeks ago, her first since the win last year. The build-up too is similar as Dagar had finished top five in New South Wales before the Cape Town triumph.
To hit the ball longer off the tee, the fitness regimen has changed from the amateur days. From playing tennis, swimming and riding, the Harbaksh Stadium has become a venue for golf-specific drills whenever Dagar’s home. She did get time off in December-January and the work put in on strengthening the core areas have yielded results. From 230 yards, Dagar’s driving distance is up 15 yards and the carry of her irons is up as well, and that helped her play under-par at practice and in tournaments in Australia. “Shooting even or under-par regularly in Australia bodes well as the conditions and courses are tough,” said Dagar Sr.