Seher Atwal in action and on right she gets her cheque from Mr. Andrew Pinto, Chairman, Tournaments PCGC and Mrs. Padmaja Shirke, Lady Captain, PCGC. Pic: WGAI
Pune, Feb 19: Bringing in a strong pedigree and having honed her skills in college golf in the US, Seher Atwal finally broke through for her maiden professional win as she held her nerve despite three bogeys on the front nine in the final round of the fourth leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Poona Club Golf Course on Friday. Niece of Indian golf legend Arjun Atwal, 22-year old Seher, who started the day with a two-shot lead, shot a final round of 2-over 73 but still emerged a three-shot winner over Vani Kapoor (74) and Hitaashee Bakshi (75).
On a somewhat chilly and windy day at the Poona Club Golf Course, there were no sub-par rounds and only three players shot even par 71.
For Vani, this was her best result since tying for second in the sixth leg before Covid hit last year. Hitaashee won the last event of 2020 and was runner-up in the second leg this year, indicating good progress.
Leader on the Hero Order of Merit Amandeep Drall, tied-second overnight, was unable to find any birdies in her round of 76 and slipped to Tied-4th alongside amateur Sneha Singh (73) and Jahanvi Bakshi (74).
Young Seher, who turned pro when the Hero WPGT Tour returned to golf after the break due to Covid, was playing in only her seventh start. “It’s a big relief to get the job done. I will not lie. I was quite nervous at the start and it was the windiest of the three days. I am glad I could hold on,” said Seher, whose uncle Arjun Atwal is India’s only winner on the PGA Tour.
Seher, coached by Nonita Lall Qureshi, has finished in the Top-10 in each of her previous six starts, with a second place at the eighth leg last year in DLF as her best. She was also third at Classic in the ninth and last leg of 2020, and finished fourth in the third leg at BPGC last week.
“I came back from the US, where I was at Rollins, in March because of Covid and graduated in May. When I was in the US, I would often speak to Arjun uncle, and even played with him. With college and practice, it was not as often as I would have wanted, but yes I was in touch with him,” added Seher.
She also said, “My sister, Mehar, also won a Hero WPGT event here in Pune, but as an amateur and I have played here in the IGU events but never won. So it was great to get a pro win here. I would like to play the (Ladies) European Tour Q-School this year and hopefully I can get there.”
Seher had entered the final round as a leader last week but failed to close for a win. In the final round, she admitted to moments of anxiety with bogeys on second, third and eighth, but with her nearest rivals Hitaashee and Amandeep, also having trouble on a chilly morning, Seher stayed ahead.
Ridhima Dilawari (72) and last week’s winner, amateur Avani Prashanth (73) were Tied-7th while Tvesa Malik (78) had a rough day with seven bogeys in the first 12 holes and just one birdie on the 18th in her 78, and ended ninth. Amateur Nayanika Sanga (71), one of the only three players to shoot even par in the final round, was tenth. Diksha Dagar (77) and Gaurika Bishnoi (77) were Tied-16th.
Seher steadied herself on the back nine with birdies on 10th and 14th and just one bogey on the Par-5 12th, while Vani had one bogey and parred the rest, the same as Hitaashee.
Hitaashee was done in by a triple bogey on the Par-4 sixth, while Amandeep had three bogeys in first five holes. Vani Kapoor with two bogeys, a double and two birdies also did not take advantage of the leaders’ struggles.