Wednesday, November 29, 2023

ISPS HANDA World Invitational golf tournament | Diksha maintains solid run to finish T-6; Gandas 20th in men

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Diksha Dagar of India plays her tee shot from the 6th hole on Day Four of the ISPS HANDA World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics at Galgorm Castle Golf Club on August 20, 2023 in United Kingdom
| Photo Credit: Getty Images

India’s Diksha Dagar continued her superb run on the Ladies European Tour, carding a fine 5-under 67 to finish T-6 at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational golf tournament.

Lying T-11 after three rounds at the USD 1.5m event, co-sanctioned by LET, LPGA and the DP World Tour, Diksha finished at 5-under for the week.

It is her fifth Top-10 finish of the season that also includes a win.

In the tournament, where the men also played at the same courses in Galgorm and Castlerock, Manu Gandas finished T-20, his best result in his rookie year on the DP World Tour, which he got into after topping the Indian PGTI Tour.

The PGTI and DP World Tour have an arrangement by which the topper in India gets a full card to the DP World Tour for the following year.

Alexa Pano fired a round of 66 (-6) at Galgorm and celebrated her 19th birthday as she won the title after a dramatic playoff.

In the men’s section, Dan Brown completed a stunning wire-to-wire success to claim his maiden professional win.

The Englishman saw his six-shot overnight advantage shaved only slightly as he posted a one under par round of 69 at Galgorm to reach 15 under par and secure a five-stroke victory over countryman Alex Fitzpatrick, who finished second on 10 under.

Diksha had rounds of 71-74-72-67 and her final round had eight birdies and three bogeys. She had birdies on first, fourth and sixth and then hit a purple patch with three birdies in a row from ninth to 11th and another on 13th. She also closed with a birdie on the 18th. Her highlight was that she birdied each of the four Par-5s on the final day.

It was the fifth Top-10 finish for Diksha, who also won her second LET title at the Czech Ladies Open.

Diksha had four Top-10s between May and June and since then she has had three other fine finishes inside Top-26, including a career-best T-21 at the AIG Women’s Open.

Diksha is now fifth on the Race to Costa Del Sol and is closing in on the gap with the four players ahead of her, including fellow Indian Aditi Ashok, who is third.

By staying in the Top-10 of the LET Order of Merit, Diksha will get a place into the final stage of the LPGA Qualifying School.

After rounds of 76-70-69-66, Pano ended the tournament with a total of eight-under-par. She found herself in a playoff alongside Germany’s Esther Henseleit and England’s Gabriella Cowley.

The American headed back down 18 and made a birdie on the first playoff hole, as did Cowley to send them back to the tee.

Pano made a par on the second playoff hole while Cowley missed her birdie putt as they both headed back to the 18th tee again.

On the third playoff hole, Pano made the green in two and was able to two-putt for a birdie to win her maiden title on the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour (LET).

Germany’s Olivia Cowan, winner of the Hero Women’s Indian Open, fired a final round of 68 (-4) to end the week in fifth place and secure back-to-back top-10 finishes.

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