Faldo Series India Girls’ Championship glory for ‘Lefty’ Dagar
Kolkata, India (October 16): Diksha Dagar continued her hot streak to score a shock victory in the 2015 Faldo Series India Girls’ Championship.
One week after winning the Indian Golf Union [IGU] West Bengal Ladies Amateur Championship, left-handed Dagar upstaged her more fancied rivals at the historic Royal Calcutta Golf Club in the 12th leg of the record-breaking 2015-2016 Faldo Series Asia season.
Making a mockery of her lowly 2,257th position in the World Amateur Golf Ranking in which she is the 17th highest Indian, Dagar overturned a five-stroke overnight deficit to stun her rivals.
Following a pair of 76s, Dagar was a model of consistency during a final-round one-over-par 73 that contained two birdies and three bogeys.
With a 54-hole aggregate of 225, she ended three strokes clear of runner-up Sifat Sagoo, both in the Under-16 Division and overall.
Third place overall went to Tvesa Malik, who appeared to be running away to victory after setting a hot pace with rounds of 73 and 74. But a mid-round stumble on the final day, when she dropped five shots in three holes, saw her lose her momentum – and the lead as she signed off with an 82.
Coming a month after she had shocked her professional rivals by emerging triumphant in the 16th leg of the Hero Women's Professional Golf Tour at Delhi Golf Club, the manner of Malik’s defeat at Royal Calcutta was surprising.
Nonetheless, there was consolation for Malik as she retained her Girls’ Under-21 title to assure herself a return trip to Mission Hills China next March for the 10th anniversary Faldo Series Asia Grand Final, to be hosted by Sir Nick Faldo.
There, she will be looking to improve on her sixth-place finish in the ninth Grand Final seven months ago, where she had the distinction of ending as the highest-placed Indian girl.
Joining Malik and Dagar at Mission Hills will be Gaurika Bishnoi, who survived a nerve-jangling sudden-death play-off with Seher Atwal to win the Under-18 category.
Six-time Major champion Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, said: “To follow up her win last week with such a solid display in the Faldo Series India Girls’ Championship illustrates the tremendous potential that Diksha possesses.
“The challenge for her now is to maintain this level of performance. If she can do that then there’s no reason why we should not celebrate a first victory for an Indian girl at the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final.”
Faldo also congratulated the IGU on becoming the first country on the Faldo Series Asia schedule to stage separate qualifiers for boys and girls.
Jaydeep Chitlangia, President of the IGU, said: “The Faldo Series qualifier was first played in India in 2005. Since then, participation in this event has grown tremendously.
“This event has generated a lot of enthusiasm among junior golfers in India as it has given them an opportunity to qualify for the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final where they compete with the best players in their age groups from around Asia.”
Supported by The R&A and Mission Hills and endorsed by the Asian Tour and the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation, the 2015-16 Faldo Series Asia campaign stretches over 11 months and will include a minimum of 21 events in 17 countries including, for the first time, Australia.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006.
Today, 40 Faldo Series tournaments take place in 30-plus countries worldwide, touching more than 7,000 golfers each year. Past winners include Tseng Ya-ni and Rory McIlroy, who took his tally of professional Major titles to four with his wins at last year’s Open Championship and US PGA Championship.
Faldo Series India Girls’ Championship, leading final scores:
229 – Tvesa Malik (73-74-82)
241 – Tavleen Batra (83-79-79)
248 – Mehak Sharma (83-80-85)
231 – Gaurika Bishnoi (80-76-75); Seher Atwal (82-76-73)
233 – Ridhima Dilawari (81-77-75)
225 – Diksha Dagar (76-76-73)
228 – Sifat Sagoo (77-75-76)
233 – Amrita Anand (83-77-73)
For full scores and results from the Faldo Series India Girls' Championship please visit www.faldoseriesasia.info/tic/tmtic.cgi. You can also follow the Faldo Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/faldoseries and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/faldoseries.