French Rookie Camille Chevalier Upstages Michele Thomson Of Scotland To Clinch Maiden Hero Women’s Indian Open Crown
The 11th edition of the US$ 400,000 Hero Women’s Indian Open added a third successive rookie to its illustrious list of champions when France’s Camille Chevalier put on a valiant effort to snatch the coveted title from overnight leader Michele Thomson of Scotland. The win also helped a ‘stressed’ Camille secure her playing rights on the Ladies European Tour (LET) for the next two seasons.
“This win is super special. I really didn’t think about winning. I was just trying to play well on every shot and stick to my game and keep my concentration. I wasn’t thinking about Michele’s game,” an excited Camille told reporters after birdying the last two holes to bag US$ 60,000 as prize money. Her overall tally read 12-under 204 (68-69-67).
“I was more concerned about keeping my card for the LET next year, because I was border-line, so I’m really happy to be keeping my card because I was so stressed about it,” added the 23-year-old from Marseille, France.
The Frenchwoman began the final round three strokes behind former policewoman Michele, who had shattered the DLF Golf & Country Club’s course record by a massive three strokes in Round 2. But a cavalier approach coupled with a strategy to create birdie chances tilted the scales in her favour.
Earlier, the Scot had built a 7-shot lead in her front nine to raise expectations of a win but a massive meltdown on the finishing stretch – where the 29-year-old dropped back-to-back bogeys on the turn along with a heartbreaking double bogey on the 14th to reduce the lead to one. Camille then upped the ante by sinking 5 birdies in the last 8 holes including back-to-back birdies on the 17th and 18th. The duel was decided by the approach shot on the finishing hole, where the Frenchwoman’s ball caught the slope to land within 3 feet.
Michele had no option but to applaud her opponent. “The putter went cold on the back nine but I can’t take anything away from Camille. She played really well and congratulations to her. I will take back a lot of positives, and will try and do one better next time,” said Michele.
Among Indians, local pro Vani Kapoor put up a brave performance to finish tied sixth. Defending champion Aditi Ashok was the next best Indian on the leaderboard at 13th place with a 3-day score of 4-under 212.
(Read more in the December issue of Golf Digest India. Download here.)