New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) Filipina Dottie Ardina upstaged Korean favourite and defending champion Hyo Joo Kim to bag top honours, while India’s Gauri Monga had the local fans spellbound with a third-place finish in the Queen Sirikit Cup Golf here Friday.
In the end, Gauri, despite her stunning 20-foot birdie on the 18th lost out the third place on count-back as Korean Ji Hee Kim birdied the 17th and parred the 18th for a 69, while Gauri had a 70. Both totalled three-under 213. Monga had rounds of 73, 70 and 70, while Kim had rounds of 76, 68 and 69.
Ahead of them, Ardina in a dramatic finish over the last six holes, took the title by one shot. The Filipina shot 70 and totalled 211, one ahead of Hyo who had 212 with rounds of 69, 69 and 74.
The Koreans (425) retained the title for the fifth time in succession, while Philippines (429) were second. China (441) were third, beating hosts Indian (442) by one shot.
The Indian team, comprising Monga, Vani Kapoor and Aditi Ashok, finished fourth in team standings, which equalled the Indian team’s performance of 1986. But the total score of 442 by the Indians was their best so far.
Vani Kapoor came good on the final day with her best for the week with a 73. Aditi Ashok shot 80. India’s third score was one-under 143 with Gauri’s 70 and Vani’s 73 counting.
The previous best by an Indian team was fourth place in 1986 by Nonita Lall, Shiraz Shaheed and Ranjit Grewal. Nonita, now the coach of the Indian team, said: “This is however the best score by an Indian team and Gauri’s score is best by an individual. They really played well.”
Gauri, starting the day in tied third, kept her nerve to birdie the 18th after going into the bunker to stay at the position. It was the first-ever top-3 finish by an Indian golfer in the tournament’s 33-year history.
“The unfortunate double bogey on the ninth cost me dear,” said the 17-year-old Gauri, who had her best international outing. “I am happy with the way I played. I missed some close putts and then after a great first eight holes, during which I had three birdies, I dropped two shots on ninth.”
It was also the first time since 2005 that the Koreans failed to win the individual title.
Hyo, who was three shots clear after two rounds, was four shots ahead after the 12th, which she double-bogeyed. Then Ardina birdied the 13th and 14th with 10-foot and three foot putts. Hyo parred the 13th and bogeyed the 14th. That suddenly narrowed the lead to just one at the 15th.
Ardina parred the 16th, while a tense Hyo double-bogeyed the hole to fall one back for the first time in the tournament and that is how the standings stayed with both parring the 16th and 17th and then birdies on the last.
Final scores of leading players after third and final round at 33rd Queen Sirikit Cup golf at Delhi Golf Club:
211: Dottie Ardina (Phi) (71-70-70),
212: Hyo Joo Kim (Kor) (69-69-74)
213: Ji Hee Kim (Kor) (76-68-69)
213: Gauri Monga (Ind) (73-70-70)
218: Cecilia Cho (NZL) (76-71-71
219: Sakuro Kito (Jpn) (74-75-70)
220: Feng Simin (Chn) (74-73-)
222: Yan Jing (Chn) (79-72-71)
223: Jayvie Marie Agojo (Phi) (78-71-74)
224: Jaruporn Ayutthaya (Tha) 78-73-73); Yi Chen Liu (Tpe) (77-70-77), Aretha Pan (Mal) (77-70-77)
Vani Kapoor: 234 (84-77-73) 27th place
Aditi Ashok 240 (79-80-81) 35th place
Teams: (Two best scores counted for each day)
425: Korea (Hyo Joo Kim, Ji Hee Kim and In Gee Chun)
429: Philippines (Dottie Ardina, Jayvie Marie Agojo and Chihero Ikeda)
441: China (Feng Simin, Yan Jing and Lin Xiyu)
442: India (Gauri Monga, Vani Kapoor and Aditi Ashok)
450: Chinese Taipei (Yi Chen Liu, Chi Wang, Chieh Lin Ch