|Caroline Hedwall at the press conference|
GURGAON, December 6: An Asian team represented by a four-member Indian contingent got the better of a star-studded European team to win the Hero Women’s Indian Open Europe v/s Asia Skills Challenge here at the DLF Golf & Country Club today. The winners pocketed Rs 37,500 for their effort while the Europeans got to share a purse of Rs 12,500.
The ‘Skills Challenge’ was a pre-cursor to the fifth edition of the Hero Women’s Indian Open, scheduled to be played from December 9 to 11, 2011. The tournament which boasts of a prize purse of USD 300,000, has women golfers from 27 nationalities competing making it one of the strongest fields on the Ladies European Tour this year.
The Hero Women’s Indian Open Europe v/s Asia Skills Challenge comprised of four Skills categories. The ‘Longest Drive’ contest had the Europeans teeing off on the par-4 tenth hole. Four-time Ladies European Tour Winner Sophie Gustafson, had a 286-yard effort in the three shots she was allowed. Welsh golfer Becky Brewerton followed with three shots of hers but failed to better her teammate. Asia was represented by Smriti Mehra and Sharmila Nicollet and the best they could manage in their collective six attempts was a 282 yard drive by Nicollet.
Europe went into the ‘100-yard Pitch’ contest, one-up. American Christina Kim and Sweden’s new star Caroline Hedwall showcased some really good approach shots with Hedwall coming as close as shot nine feet 7 inches from the pin. Asia who fielded Sharmila Nicollet and Neha Tripathi in this ‘Skill’ saw young Tripathi outdo her European counterpart’s effort with a superb pitch shot that landed the ball 5 feet 2 inches from the target. Asia drew level.
Having gained the honour, Nalini Singh Siwach and Smriti Mehra took on the monster green-side bunker of the 18th hole. Nalini put pressure on the Europeans with a brilliant chip to 3 feet 5 inches, which they failed to match to hand Asia a 2-1 lead.
The ‘Monster Putt’ contest followed. Nallini Singh, teaming up with Neha Tripathi, once again starred with one of her three-putts coming to rest 13 feet from the cup. The European contingent represented by Christina Kim and Sophie Gustafson fell short by four feet with Christina’s putt coming to a halt 17 feet from the pin.
There will be a Night Pro-Am on Wednesday followed by Pro-Ams on Thursday and main tournament will be played Friday through to Sunday.