Gauri claims crown

Gauri claims crown

Delhiite captures Southern India title by one stroke

Gauri claims crown

 Talented youngster Gauri Monga announced her comeback to the circuit in fine style, annexing the Usha-IGU Southern India Ladies and Junior Golf Championship here on Wednesday.

Gauri, who played only in a handful of events after her All India Ladies Amateur Championship triumph in January 2011, carded a third successive 73 for a one-shot victory at a wind-swept Karnataka Golf Association.

Last season’s Order of Merit champion and current leader Gurbani Singh found her touch -- though a little too late -- shooting a fine one-under 71 to finish runner-up at 220 while round one pace-setter Astha Madan hit 73 to sign off third at 221.

“It feels good to win again,” said a delighted Gauri. “It’s been a long wait although I’ve hardly played any competitive golf in the last two years. With the season just having kick-started it’s a huge confidence booster for me.”

Forced to pull out of the season-opening Army Ladies Amateur Championship in April due to a bout of food poisoning and finishing third last week at the Karnataka Ladies Amateur Championship, the 19-year-old Gauri was determined to make amends this week.

Heading into the final round with a slender one-shot lead and a clutch of contenders breathing down her neck, Gauri hardly allowed the pressure to get to her despite going through a topsy-turvy ride. She kicked off her day with a bogey on the second hole but quickly wiped out the blemish with a brilliant 25-footer birdie on the third.

She made the turn with a birdie on the ninth but dropped a shot immediately at the par-4 10th. She rolled in a 10-foot birdie on the 13th before dropping shots on the 16th and 18th. However, with a decent lead in her pocket, the two errors went unpunished.

Leading scores (after 54 holes): Ladies: 219: Gauri Monga (73, 73, 73); 220: Gurbani Singh (75, 74, 71); 221: Astha Madan (72, 76, 73); 222: Tvesa Malik (74, 73, 75); 223: Gursimar Badwal (74, 73, 76); 226: Raksha Phadke (74, 74, 78); 227: Aditi Ashok (76, 80, 71).

Category A: 220: Gurbani Singh; 221: Astha Madan; 222: Tvesa Malik; 227: Aditi Ashok; 228: Vrishali Sinha (77, 73, 78).

Category B: 229: Amrita Anand (73, 77, 79); 250: Gurjot Badwal (85, 78, 87); 253: Arshia Mahant (85, 88, 80).

Category C: 258: Sifat Sagoo (83, 86, 89); 263: Tanishka Kumar (91, 87, 85); 264: Esha Sharma (88, 91, 85).