MANILA: Avani Prashanth created history by becoming the first Indian winner of the 43rd Queen Sirikit Cup in the Philippines on Friday.
The Bangalore teenager’s sterling score also carried the Indian team to a never-before second place in the prestigious competition for the Asia-Pacific region.
Avani returned a four-day aggregate of 16-under 272 (68-66-70-68), a record-breaking 10 shots ahead of second-placed New Zealander Fiona Xu (six-under 282).
Rianne Mikhaela Malixi (68-73-68-74) of the Philippines and Korea’s Hyunjo Yoo (70-71-71-71) finished tied for third place on five-under 283 at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club.
Speaking from Manila, Avani said, “I feel great. It’s been a long-awaited win and I’m excited for what the rest of the year holds. It’s a little frustrating that I won’t be going to Augusta this year, but I’ll hope to make it there in 2024. I’m just happy to get this win and I hope I can carry this form into the WAAP (Women’s Asia Pacific Amateur Championship).”
The 16-year-old, who is 97th on the World Amateur Golf Rankings either led or held a share of top spot all the way and closed out her blazing run in Manila appropriately with a birdie.
Thanks to her scores, India rode to a first silver medal in the regional amateur championship with teammates Vidhatri Urs and Nishna Patel making up the squad.
While Mysore-based Vidhatri (74-77-72-74) finished tied for 19th Nishna was further down the order in shared 30th place with rounds of 80, 78, 74 and 75.
India were second behind the powerful Koreans who needed all their firepower to edge out the challengers with a 12-under 564 total.
India aggregated seven-under 571, while Japan were third a further four shots behind.
The field at Manila included reigning WAAP champion Tiffany Huang Ting-hsuan of Taiwan, world fifth ranked Japanese Yuna Araki, 15th ranked Mizuki Hashimoto of Japan and Korean Minsol Kim, world ranked 16th.
On Thursday, a late rally helped keep the Koreans in the race for top spot with the two best cards of 71 and 73 just two shots ahead of India.
“My putter was cold to start and it was an exhausting first eight holes. I’m loving the course and the wide fairways,” Avani told the event website after her seond day heroics. “I’m feeling confident and am looking forward to the next two days here.” (ANI)