Mr Pawan Munjal, Chairman and CEO of Hero MotoCorp Ltd and Vani Kapoor look on as Gwladys Nocera hits a shot in the Skills Challenge at DLF G&CC.
Gwladys Nocera will be after an Indian triple crown this weekend in the Hero Women’s Indian Open at DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon.
The defending champion, who led from start to finish to win the 2014 event at Delhi Golf Club and also triumphed in the 2007 Ladies Masters at Eagleton Golf Resort in Bangalore, will look to make India the first country where she has won three times.
Over the last 10 years, Nocera has dominated with 14 Ladies European Tour titles in 11 different countries (Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, India, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Slovakia, China and Morocco). She previously successfully defended at the ABN AMRO Ladies Open in the Netherlands in 2008.
One of the Ladies European Tour’s most outstanding players in modern history, Nocera collected her most recent title at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Agadir in March.
Currently ranked fifth on the 2015 LET Order of Merit after five additional top 10 finishes including second at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open and a fourth Solheim Cup appearance, she still has a chance to win the Ranking for the second time since 2008.
“I’m hitting the ball well, better than I was in the middle of the season, so I feel good,” she said, after a fourth place finish in the recent Xiamen Open.
The 40-year-old from Moulins will face a completely different challenge to the DGC on the newly opened ‘Black Knight’ Course by Gary Player at the DLF Golf and Country Club, an amazing layout featuring extreme elevations and a number of creative design features which offer a variety of playing options and visual looks.
“It’s very different. I don’t really recognise the place from when we were here last time,” said Nocera, who played in the Hero Women’s Indian Open on the previous Arnold Palmer designed course at DLF G&CC in 2011 and 2012. “I’m glad I have my caddie with me and I’m hoping he’ll give me some good numbers.”
The tournament joined the LET schedule in 2010 and has helped to promote and foster the development of golf in India, with each year seeing better results from the domestic players, who are inspired by the competing alongside the visiting international talent.
Nocera has set several all-time scoring records on the LET and holds the lowest 72-hole total of 259, 29-under-par, from the 2008 Goteborg Masters at Lycke Golf Club in Sweden, but she couldn’t predict a winning score, saying: “I think you have to play smart on the whole course.”
Gwladys (right) was a member of ‘Team Rest of the World’ who beat Asia in the pre-tournament Skills Challenge.