Golfer Pedersen to defend Women's India Open title
New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) Denmark's golfer Emily Kristine Pedersen will defend her Hero Womens India Open title when the $400,000 event tees off at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon from November 7 to 13, it was confirmed on Tuesday.
The annual event, now in its 10th year, will also see the likes of 2014 edition winner Gwladys Nocera and established Ladies European Tour (LET) professionals like Beth Allen and Isabelle Boineau.
Defending champion Pedersen claimed her maiden LET title here last year. She is currently placed ninth in the LET Order of Merit with total earnings of 94,256.59 euros ($105,194) in 11 appearances.
She will be eager for an encore at the only Gary Player designed golf course in India. However, it won't be easy for the Dane as she will have to face a strong challenge from some of the best golfers from around the globe.
The flagship event, co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET) and the Women's Golf Association of India (WGAI) will also see LPGA star and world number 33, Brittany Lincicome in action for the first time in India. The United States professional has two Major Championships to her credit and has been a regular at the Solheim Cup since 2007.
The highly competitive and star-studded field will also include Indian Olympian Aditi Ashok, Vani Kapoor and Sharmila Nicollet.
Aditi, playing as a rookie on the LET has had a dream year. She became the first Indian golfer to secure a top-10 finish on the tour, when she secured tied ninth position at the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters and then bettered it with a sixth place finish at the Andalucia Costa Del Sol Open De Espana Femenino.
She turned heads with her performance at the Rio Olympics where she was also the youngest golfer in the fray. She is currently placed third in the LET Rookie of the Year ranking and will be keen to move up the table with a strong performance at the tournament.
Another player who will be shouldering Indian hopes will be Vani Kapoor. She finished tied fifth at the Hong Kong Ladies Open and is currently leading the Hero Order of Merit.
She will be playing on her home turf at the DLF Golf and Country Club and will lead the charge of a strong Indian contingent along with Sharmila and Amandeep Drall.
Commenting on Hero's association with the Hero Women's Indian Open for the seventh consecutive year, Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Hero MotoCorp Ltd, said: "At Hero, we are committed to the cause of women's golf in the country. The tournament offers an opportunity to talented young Indian golfers to test their skills against the best in the world."
Speaking on the occasion, WGAI president Kavita Singh thanked Hero for its continuous support.