Camille Chevalier will return to the scene of her maiden victory in the Hero Women’s Indian Open at DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon next week, looking for back-to-back titles.
Last year, the rising French star fired five birdies in her last eight holes to become the third successive LET rookie to win the title, following Emily Kristine Pedersen (2015) and Aditi Ashok (2016), all of whom went on to become the LET rookie of the year in their debut season on tour.
With rounds of 68, 69 and 67, Chevalier finished on 12-under-par and narrowly edged Scotland’s Michele Thomson, who was leading after 15 holes, before her putter turned cold. Anne Van Dam, Carlota Ciganda and Sarah Kemp ended three strokes further back in third place.
Chevalier said that practicing regularly at Le Golf National in Paris, the 2018 Ryder Cup venue and home of the French Federation, was the perfect preparation for the challenging Gary Player designed Black Knight Course. Chevalier said: “It’s a technical course, so you have to play a variety of shots and hit the right parts of the greens. It’s very different to the American courses I’ve played on the Symetra Tour, which are very wide open and you just have to make a lot of birdies. At DLF, you can make birdies, but you really have to play smart. The greens are also very grainy in India. I’m excited to go back and see the course because I think it suits my game well.”
In the last three editions, it has ultimately all come down to the dramatic 18th hole at DLF. Unlike Matt Wallace, who won the men’s Hero Indian Open at the same venue in March, with some bold second shots played over the lake, Chevalier’s precision accuracy helped her to walk away with the women’s trophy. At her 54th hole, she laid up short of the water and played a 58-degree wedge from 65 metres to within one metre from the hole, before rolling in her putt for birdie.
Looking back, she says that being able to share the moment with her friends and their families was the highlight and she hopes to celebrate again this year by taking them to visit the Taj Mahal and downtown New Delhi.