Avani and Sneha. Pic: File
ABU DHABI, (UAE): Sneha Singh and Anika Varma – two of India’s most successful amateur stars – are eager to prove their mettle as they represent the country at this week’s Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP).
The third edition of the premier regional tournament for amateurs, organised by the R&A and Asia Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), starts at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from Wednesday, November 10. The champion golfer gets guaranteed entry in the AIG Women’s Open and The Amundi Evian Championship (both majors), as well as an invitation to play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
The Hyderabad-based Sneha, and Anika, who moved to Sacramento in the US for high school and golf, have chosen completely different routes to the championship.
Sneha has become the leading Indian player at No.153 on WAGR by playing extensively in domestic amateur tournaments and the occasional Hero Women’s Golf Association of India Tour, in which she has won three titles playing against the professionals in the last three years.
“I have been playing very well this year, but more than my finishes (three wins and five top-8s in nine starts), what I am really happy about is that I have managed to post good scores. It is my first time representing India at such a big stage, and I am just going to enjoy myself and do all the things that I do well on the golf course,” said Sneha.
Anika, who burst onto the scene with a sensational fifth place finish in the 2019 Hero Women’s Indian Open, is still in school and has committed to play for University of Oregon (a top-5 team in US collegiate system). With not many school events offering WAGR points in the US, her ranking has fallen to No.478, but it did not bother her much.
“It doesn’t matter if you have played, or if you haven’t played, in the big tournaments. I feel like everything’s been going well. It’s honestly how you perceive it,” said Varma, who is playing her second WAAP (missed cut in 2018 tournament in Singapore) and reached the Round of 32 in this year’s prestigious Women’s Western Amateur in the US.
“If I think I haven’t played any good tournaments and I won’t know how I’m going to play, then that’s how I’d think. But if you think like, oh, I’m in great condition, I’ve been working hard, and I’ve been putting 100 per cent, then you are going to play well anyway.”
India has eight players in the field, led by WAGR No.153 Sneha Singh of Hyderabad. The Indian team has six players – Singh, Prashanth, No.259 Sifat Sagoo, No.478 Anika Varma, No.658 Kriti Chowhan and No.707 Nishna Patel. Two other Indians – Natalii Gupta and Hannah Cheryl Allan – have been nominated by the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF).
The tournament, organised by the R&A and the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), features six of the top-30 players in the world, with Korea’s Youmin Hwang, No.4 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) and China’s world No.7 Xiaowen Yin the top-ranked players.