A month after ending her six-year long title drought, Caroline Hedwall is approaching the Hero Women’s Indian Open with high expectations. The 29-year-old Swede hit the Ladies European Tour with a bang in her rookie year in 2011, winning four titles including the Hero Women’s Indian Open.
She also won the 2012 Austrian Open, but last month finally got the monkey off her back with a fine win at the Lacoste Open de France, followed by a second place finish in the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open in Spain.
She heads to India hoping to continue that success, with the added incentive of a record purse of US $500,000 at the 72-hole event, which will also be telecast live globally.
Hedwall heads a list of 11 stars from the Ladies European Tour’s Top-20 in the current Order of Merit. Five players who finished in the top 10 in last year’s Indian Open, including India’s own Vani Kapoor, will also be vying for the title.
Hedwall is one of the two past LET Order of Merit winners in the field, the other being Beth Allen. The field includes defending champion Camille Chevalier of France, who after her win last year has had a modest season with five cuts made from 10 starts, her best finish being a tie for 26th in the Jabra Ladies Open.
When Hedwall won in 2011, the event was held on the Arnold Palmer course at DLF Country Club. If Hedwall wins this year, she will become only the second player to win the event more than once, following Pornanong Phatlum, but the first to win it on both the Arnold Palmer and Gary Player courses.
Her current form indicates that Hedwall is all set to make a strong bid for the title once again. She has played seven events on the LET so far in 2018, as she divides her time between the LET and LPGA tours.
On the LET this year, she has missed just one cut in seven starts and finished in the top-10 four times, including the win in France, where she came from seven strokes behind the overnight leader with a final round of 62, nine-under-par.
In the period soon after her magical rookie season in 2011, Hedwall shifted her focus to the LPGA, where one of her best seasons was in 2013. She was in the top-10 six times and then, as one of the captain’s picks, she became the first player in Solheim Cup history to win five matches during Europe’s first away victory at Colorado Golf Club.
Since 2013, she has struggled with injuries but still posted a few top 10 finishes each season. The closest she came to her first LPGA win was second in the 2014 Reignwood LPGA Classic in China, but this year’s Hero Women’s Indian Open represents a great opportunity for one of the most naturally talented players on the Ladies European Tour.