118 tournaments had gone by and Becky Morgan had come close to winning a lot of time but the 119th tournament after 18 years of her hustle on the LPGA and LET Tour the result of her hard work, effort and experience finally came to her today at the Hero Women’s Indian Open at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
The 44-year-old Morgan, who collected a lot of frequent flyer miles while shuttling between the Ladies European and Ladies PGA Tour across the Atlantic, won her maiden pro title in India on the LET.
“I have always loved everything about India. And that’s why I have kept coming back and I did come close to winning a couple of times and finally, I got the job done this time,” said an elated Morgan.
Starting the day in the shared lead alongside Nicole Broch Larsen of Denmark and Eleanor Givens, Morgan held at bay a four-player pack to emerge the winner by two shots.
Caroline Hedwall (68), Christine Wolf (70), Felicity Johnson (70) and Nicole Broch Larsen (71) shared the second place at 5-under 283, while two Thais, Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (69), Supamas Sangchan (70) and a Finn Noora Komulainen (73) were 1-under 287 and Tied-6th, as only eight players finished the week under par.
Morgan has played each and every edition of the HWIO since it came on the Ladies European Tour in 2010. In the past eight editions, she has had three Top-10 finishes including a second in 2015 and third in 2011. She was T-10 in 2010.
Morgan stays steady amidst tension
Morgan had three birdies against no bogeys on the front nine, but she did drop a shot on the 11th. She then steadied herself to birdie the par-4 13th and parred the last five holes amidst a lot of tension.
The 2011 champion, Caroline Hedwall (69) set the clubhouse target at 5-under with a birdie on 72nd.
Wolf, till then at 7-under with Morgan, arrived at 18th and once again took a dip in the water hazard in front of the green, just as she did on Saturday. This time it was only once. Holding her head in her hands, she came out with a double bogey seven which ended her chances of holding that Trophy. She finished at 5-under, despite having scored 9 and 7 on two days at the Par-5 18th.
Indian girls Tvesa Malik and Gaurika Bishnoi were awarded the best Indian performers at the event and were presented with Hero Maestro scooter. They both stood T-13 at 1- over 289. The two youngsters, who are only in their second year of professional golf, shot 73 and 72 respectively to finish at 1-over 289. They were eight shots behind the eventual winner, Becky Morgan (68, and 7-under 281).
Gaurika said, “I was very happy to have fought back from back-to-back double bogeys on seventh and eighth when I suffered a lapse of concentration. Then there was a bogey on 12th, too. But four birdies in last seven holes gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to score on a tough track. This is my last event of the year and I will now focus on my final year examinations in college and then get back to full-time golf next year.”
Tvesa Malik said, “I played the HWIO last year, but this year’s performance gives me the belief that I can do way better and I am looking forward to doing well at the LET Q-School.”
Amateur Sifat Sagoo, youngest of the Indian players in the field, emerged as the low amateur after a superb round of 2-under 70 on the final day of the Hero Women’s Indian Open.
The 17-year-old Sifat shot 72, 79, 73 and 70 to total 6-over 294 and finished in Tied-33rd place. She said, “But for the second day when I shot 79 and did nothing right, it could have been a great tournament. But I am still happy with the other rounds and especially the final round, where I had three bogeys in a row from sixth to eighth, but fought back with four birdies and no bogeys in last 10 to finish under par at 70.”