18-years-old and only the second Indian winner on the Ladies European Tour, Diksha Dagar ranks second on the Rookie of the Year Rankings behind Esther Henseleit, who is yet to win on tour.

She is making her fourth appearance in the Hero Women’s Open at DLF Golf and Country Club this week, but will be playing for the first time as a professional. Here, she discusses her rookie season, equipment and ambitions.

How are you feeling about being back at the Hero Women’s Indian Open?

This is my second home course and I’m used to playing on this course. I have played many times on this golf course, so I have learned that the most important thing is course management and you have to be careful about the greens, as they are very tricky.

Whom will act as your caddie this week?

I will have a local caddie from DLF Golf & Country Club. I felt it was better to take a local caddie because he knows the golf course very well.

How do you feel about your game?

I’m very confident because I’m hitting the ball well and my approach shots are going very well.

How has your rookie season gone so far?

It has been a very good experience. After qualifying at Q School for the Ladies European Tour, I started very well in Australia, which helped me to win in South Africa.

What changes have occurred, in and around you?

I have changed my golf set three times, but now it is fixed. I’m playing with Callaway Apex. I believe change is the only constant in life and golf.

Lots of tournaments, lots of equipment changes, lots of travel. It has been an aggressive start to the year. It’s essential to hit long and putt well to be a top player. Physical fitness is crucial to overcome jetlag and varying weather conditions.

How are you gaining distance?

I believe fitness and shaft are the two keys. Lee Quinn and Sandeep Varma are helping me with both. I take exercise regularly and plan on taking professional help after the Hero Women’s Indian Open.

What goals have you set for this year and the year ahead?

Like everyone else, I am looking forward to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. I am running second in the Rookie of the Year rankings on the LET. Esther from Germany has had a great season and is likely to win the LET OOM. I need at least one win or more to have a chance.

Being an inspiration to a whole new upcoming generation of golfers, what would you like to share with young girls?

India is a huge country where men’s golf is quite good but there are fewer girls on the course. Because of this, the chances of success for girls is actually better. A good foundation and all-round fitness are the key factors, which are often neglected by Indian girls. Indulging in outdoor sports helps a lot.