Exciting action on the cards

Adding to the three-day drama beginning on Tuesday will be the Clover Greens Golf Course, which will be playing host to a professional event for the first time in its short history.

The par-70 Clover Greens’ novelty factor is what brings an interesting twist to the tale, with at least four pros looking good to strike the gold.

Designed by Pacific Coast Design under the guidance of Phil Ryan, the course is expected to play short, offering an advantage to big-hitters like Sharmila Nicollet, Smriti Mehra and Saaniya Sharma. Although they should able to attack the flags without much discomfort due to the limited hazards, their putting will come severe test, thanks to the quickness of the greens.

Smarting from two runner-up finishes, Order of Merit champion Sharmila will be hoping her short game doesn’t let her down once again. Starting as the favourite for the season, she putted poorly in the opening leg, sometimes missing birdie chances from 3-4 feet.

Appearing to have done her homework, the 20-year-old showed improvement in the second leg, holding the lead for the better part of the tournament before being usurped by a spectacular fightback from Smriti, who birdied the closing five holes to run away with the title.

“The course looks in brilliant condition,” said Sharmila after a short practice round. “I think I have a small advantage with my big-hitting but putting will once again hold the key here. The greens are fast and the scores will be low.”

Coming back from an injury, 38-year-old Smriti displayed the form of yore last week at Eagleton. Opening-leg winner Neha Tripathi, who looked solid in all departments, will be keen to wrap up her Bangalore trip on a high while Delhi’s Saaniya, struggling to find consistency, could pose a threat too.

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