Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
Defending champion Camille Chevalier of France will lead a field of record 120-pro golfers from 30 countries for the highest-ever prize purse of US $500,000 in the 12 edition of Hero Women’s Indian Open (HWIO) to be played at the Gary Player layout of the DLF Club, Gurugram from October 18-21.
Vani Kapoor, who finished a career-best tied-sixth in the previous edition, will be leading the Indian challenge. Amongst other top Indians is the current Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour Order of Merit leader – Tvesa Malik, along with Amandeep Drall, and Gursimar Badwal among others.
Apart from Camille Chevalier other leading foreign players taking part are, former champion Swedish Caroline Hedwall, who also won the Lacoste Ladies Open de France earlier this month, Beth Allen – the 2016 LET Order of Merit winner, Thailand’s Kanyalak Preedasuttjit – winner of the Thailand Ladies Open, and Celine Boutier – winner of the Australian Ladies Classic.
So far, 11 of the top-20 players on the Ladies European Tour (LET)order of merit have confirmed their participation in the tournament, which is higher than previous years. There are 9 tournament winners in the field, which includes the 2016 winner of the LET order of merit. With over four weeks to go for the tournament, the field is expected to grow stronger as more entries are still coming in.
Talking to news persons in New Delhi on Tuesday, Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) president Kavita Singh said that “ This edition of HWIO will set a host of new landmarks – starting with the prize money that touches a record half a million dollars (US $500,000) for the first time, making it the second richest golf tournament in the country after the men’s Hero Indian Open.
The prize money gets a 25 per cent increase over 2017 and a five-fold increase from its inaugural edition in 2007.
She said it will be for the first time, the Tournament will be contested over 72 holes and telecast Live over all four days.” This will no doubt showcase the growing strength of Indian women’s professional golf to a worldwide audience. It is with the help of our sponsors and well wishers that the WGAI continues to grow from strength to strength.
The Ladies European Tour has sanctioned the tournament since 2010 and it has inspired the next generation of young Indian stars. We are lucky to have a great partner in Hero MotoCorp, whose commitment to the growth of the tournament will set new standards for professional women’s golf.”
WGAI secretary Champika Sayal said there will be 102 foreign and 19 Indian (including one amateur) entries and the cut will be applied after 36 holes. “It is indeed a proud moment for the Indian women golf that this tournament has attracted leading players of the world .”
Champika was of the view that with increase prize money and huge media coverage the Women’s golf will get further boost.”The field is tough and exciting and the fact that it will be played for full four rounds also further enhance the prestige of this tournament”
Hosting the Hero Women’s Indian Open for the fourth year in succession will be the challenging and picturesque Gary Player layout at the DLF Golf and Country Club, which is often referred to as the home course for the women’s Golf in India.
J.Narain of Hero MotoCorp said “As a long-term sponsor of Golf across the world, it give Hero MotoCorp great joy and satisfaction to see this sport take giant strides in India.”
The Hero Women’s Indian Open has evolved into a sought after event over the past decade and still continues to grow stronger with each passing year. Tournaments such as these inspire young girls to take up the sport as a career. As this tournament continues to get more prominence, so will the young Indian players. I wish the organizers the best of luck and look forward to yet another successful edition of the tournament.”
The tournament also assume significance because three other tournament at Qatar,Abu Dabi and Dubai known as “Desert Swing” which were to be held before HWIO have been cancelled because of the situation prevailing in that region”