Neha prevails in thriller

Neha prevails in thriller

Kolkata lass overcomes Aditi in play-off to emerge champion

The 19-year-old from Fort William Army Golf Club, who shot a superb three-under 69 to finish level with Aditi at 218, kept her composure to edge out the talented 13-year-old amateur on the fifth play-off hole at the Karnataka Golf Association.

After parring the par-4 18th hole -- the play-off was held only on the closing hole -- four times, Neha finally settled the issue, sinking a superb 13-foot birdie putt to complete a fine fightback and the second pro triumph of her career.

“It feels great to win this and it charges me up for the next two events here. In fact, I bogeyed the 18th in regulation play as I went into the water, but I came out with a good bogey,” said Neha, a student of St Xavier’s College, Kolkata.

“I had to wait for about 15 minutes to find out where I had finished (after regulation play). Aditi too bogeyed thee 18th and I was in a play-off. I missed a regulation putt on the first attempt, but I am happy to have birdied on the fifth try,” added the delighted teenager.

Hat-trick of birdies

Neha, who trailed overnight leader Aditi by three shots after a disappointing second-round 78, took the turn at one-under after a birdie on the fifth. She began her return journey with a hat-trick of birdies on the 10th, 11th and 12th before dropping a stroke for the first time in the day on the par-3 13th. She quickly made amends, picking up a stroke on the par-5 14th before ending her round with a bogey on the 18th.

Aditi, who has made heads turn with her sizzling show in her very first appearance at a pro event, impressed again with a level-par 72.

The Bangalore Golf Club girl, who trains at the KGA, picked up a shot each on the second and 10th holes.

Leading by two shots with two holes to play, Aditi blinked first with a bogey on the 17th. Pressure got the better of her on the final hole as she dropped another shot.

Leading scores (after 54 holes, ‘A’ denotes amateur): 218: Neha Tripathi (71, 78, 69), Aditi Ashok (A) (70, 76, 72); 219: Smriti Mehra (75, 76, 78), Sharmila Nicollet (74, 75, 70); 223: Meghna Bal (75, 78, 70); 231: Saaniya Sharma (71, 76, 84); 232: Ankita Tiwana (77, 79, 76), Nalini Singh Siwach (72, 79, 81); 238: Rani Sonti (85, 74, 79); 243: Preetinder Kaur (79, 78, 86), Nikki Ponappa (76, 81, 86).

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