India’s Diksha Dagar played some inspiring golf at the Hero Women’s Indian Open, but ended up sole third as overnight leader Aline Krauter of Germany overcame an early challenge from Sara Kjellker of Sweden to win her maiden Ladies European Tour title, on Sunday. Diksha gave it her all with five birdies against two bogeys on the front nine, but on the back nine, the birdie putts deserted her and she ultimately finished with a card of 70 at 8-under 280 for the tournament to finish third.
German rookie Aline, who shot a brilliant 68 on the final day and carded 15-under for the tournament, overcame a strong challenge from another rookie Sara (71) to make it a memorable outing at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
Diksha, who could have moved to the top of the Order of Merit with a win or solo second here, fumbled on the back-nine as she had just one birdie and dropped shots on the 10th and 14th.
However, Diksha’s efforts on Sunday ensured that she will move to the second place, up from her fourth place, on the LET’s Race to Costa Del Sol.
She is now just about 78 points behind the Order of Merit leader, Celine Boutier of France, who did not play this week.
No Indian has ever won the Order of Merit on LET and Diksha has three more competitions left to achieve the distinction.
Aline, with rounds of 69-68-68-68, totalled 15-under 273 and Sara, with 73-66-68-71, was 10-under, grabbing the second position. Both Aline and Sara are in their rookie year, with the former also a rookie on the LPGA.
Aline’s win means the Women’s Indian Open has a German winner for the second straight year after Olivia Cowan won the trophy last year.
In between, another German, Marcel Siem won the men’s Hero Indian Open at the same course earlier this year.
“I knew Olivia won last year, but I was just told that Marcel Siem won the men’s event, too. So, obviously, India and this course works for us,” said Aline.
“I feel amazing. Obviously, being a first-time winner on the LET also means the world to me. So I’m excited to tee it up on the LET next year again and hopefully come back to India as well.” India’s amateur golfer Avani Prashanth (69) finished tied-5th with Sara Kouskova (65) of the Czech Republic, while Gaurika Bishnoi (71) ended tied-8th with Finland’s Noora Komulainen (69).
A total of 10 Indians had made the cut and all of them finished tied-36 or better with three of them in the top-10.
Diksha said she was satisfied with the third-place finish.
“It was a wonderful experience. I am happy with the way I finished. I would like to stay in the present and I am going to continue my game and I am going to look out and work on my weaknesses. I am also looking to improve my diet and work on my skills,” said the Indian, who could not make it to the Hangzhou Asian Games contingent.
Amandeep Drall (69) finished tied-16th alongside Vani Kapoor (78), while US-based Nishtha Madan (74) was tied-20th, Ridhima Dilawari (74) tied-24th, Khushi Khanijau (73) tied-31st and Neha Tripathi (73) tied-36th along with amateur Vidhatri Urs (78).