March 16: Diksha Dagar scripted history after a magnificent bogey-free final round of three-under to score a one-shot win at the Two million Rand (approx. US $ 140,000) Investec Women’s South African Open in Capetown, South Africa on Saturday.
Dagar, 18, rallied from two shots behind over the much experienced local Lee Anne Pace to become only the second Indian woman to win a tournament on the Ladies European Tour.
Dagar follows Aditi Ashok, who in 2016 became the first Indian to win on the LET. Aditi added two more LET wins and now plays on the LPGA.
Diksha also has ambitions of getting to the LPGA, which on current form looks a strong possibility. Dagar played at the Women’s Hero Indian Open as an amateur and made the cut.
Her father, Narinder Dagar, a former scratch golfer, who also served in the Army was on the bag for Diksha. He has nursed her through the career and helped her cope with the trauma of having hearing problems. She has been wearing hearing aids since the age of six.
A left-hander, Diksha is well-known for brand of aggressive and fearless golf. Her brother, Yogesh, who is also deaf, also plays golf and has been playing in age-group events.
Dagar, who came in off a long flight from Australia, where was Tied-5th at the NSW Open last week, began the week with double bogeys in first three holes. She just one more bogey on the 12th hole and ended the first day with 76, but with scoring tough on a windy day, she was still inside Top-20. There after she played the next 42 holes without a blemish and finished at five-under 211, while Lee-Anne (72) ended at four-under 212. She rose to second by the end of the second day and finally won the title on the final day.
Dagar trailed till late into the back nine. She started one behind and Lee-Anne pulled to two clear with a birdie on 11thbut bogeyed the 13th to fall back to five-under. Dagar birdied 15th and 16th and that helped her catch up leader Lee-Anne at five-under. The South African dropped another shot on 17th and Dagar stayed steady and one ahead. As both parred the final hole the Indian won the title.
Esther Henseleit (70) of South Africa and Michele Thompson (68) of Australia were tied for third at three-under 212, and Carly Booth (69) of England was fifth at 2-under 214.
Dagar, who turned 18 last December, is a silver medallist at the 2017 Summer Deaflympics. She also had a stellar Amateur career during which she also represented India at the 2018 Asian Games and won the 2018 Singapore Amateur title.
She also won a pro event on the Indian domestic Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour, before turning pro at the start of this year. She gained a status on the Ladies European Tour and then did the same at the Australian Ladies Pro Golf Tour. She played a series of events in Australia and last week registered the first career Top-5 at the New South Wales Open. From there she flew to South Africa for the Investec Women’s South African Open and won the title with a brilliant showing.