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Rookie Aline Krauter sets Black Knight course ablaze to capture Women’s Indian Open crown; Diksha Dagar finishes third

Published at :October 22, 2023 at 8:14 PM
Modified at :February 4, 2024 at 6:35 PM
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(Courtesy : Ladies European Tour)

Rohit Bhardwaj

She becomes the third German to win at the DLF Golf & Country Club.

The challenging Gary Player-designed layout produced another first-time winner on the Ladies European Tour (LET) in Germany’s Aline Krauter, who clinched the prestigious Hero Women’s Indian Open title in commanding fashion on Sunday.

Aline submitted a card of four-under 68 for the third successive time to capture the $400,000 event by a massive five strokes in her rookie season. With the victory, she received a full card on the LET for the next two years besides a winner’s share of $60,000.

The 23-year-old drained seven birdies against three bogeys for a four-day tally of 15-under 273. Sara Kjellker of Sweden emerged as the runner-up after posting a one-under 71 for a 72-hole tally of 10-under 278. India’s Diksha Dagar carded a two-under 70 to settle for solo third place, a stroke ahead of Hannah Burke of England in fourth spot.

Germans have reigned supreme at the DLF Golf & Country Club on three occasions since last year. Aline followed in the footsteps of Olivia Cowan, the 2022 Women’s Indian Open winner, and men’s Indian Open champion Marcel Siem (2023).

Aline had a birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey start to her final round, and it seemed that the nerves had caught up with her. However, she not only recovered real quick, she built on a massive seven-shot lead by the time she reached Hole 16 with a birdie hat-trick from Hole 7 to 9 and then another couple of birdies on the 14th and 16th. A pep talk from her mental coach did the trick for her.

She three-putted from about 12 feet on the undulating Hole 18 to cut her lead to five shots, without anyone to challenge her. A happy Aline thanked her family and the organizers for all the support after lifting the heavy Women’s Indian Open trophy amid loud cheers from the crowd.

“I feel amazing. I think the support I have got this week from everyone, from sponsors, to fans, to little children, to other players in the field has been amazing, which makes it that much more special. And then obviously being a first-time winner on the LET also obviously means the world to me. So I am excited to tee it up on the LET next year again and hopefully come back to India as well,” Aline told reporters.

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“I think my mindset was great. I just started working with a mental coach this week, and I think that’s really shown, and I feel a lot more level-headed, which is really important, especially around a golf course like this. So, I think that really worked well for me, and then my ball striking was great, which really saved me around this golf course,” she added.

The Women’s Indian Open has produced many first-time winners on the LET, including Emily Kristine Pedersen of Denmark (2015), India’s Aditi Ashok (2016), Camille Chevalier (2017) of France, Welshwoman Becky Morgan (2018), Christine Wolf (2019) of Austria, and defending champion Olivia Cowan, among others.

Aline discovered this during a chat with Camille and took it upon herself to become the next champion, and interestingly, the golfing gods blessed her with the trophy on Sunday.

“The first win is very special, and I was actually talking to Camille earlier this week, and we sat at a table, and she said, rookies seem to like this course. And then we looked around, and I was sitting with one of my other friends, and we were like, okay, who’s going to be the rookie this week and I raised my hand… It’s obviously super special that it happened, and it worked out this way,” she explained.

Aline will be switching between the LPGA Tour in the Americas and the LET in Europe as she plans to go for the Qualifying School in the USA next.

Meanwhile, India’s Avani Prashanth finished as the top amateur in the tournament after ending tied fifth alongside Sara Kouskova of Czech Republic with matching totals of six-under 282. Avani made a fantastic comeback after dropping three strokes in her first five holes with an eagle on Hole 8 and birdies on 10, 11, 14, and 18.

Englishwoman Gabriella Cowley registered a card of five-under 283 to take sole seventh spot followed by local girl Gaurika Bishnoi and Noora Komulainen of Finland in joint eighth position with identical scores of two-under 286. Anne-Charlotte Mora of France finished in lone 10th place at one-under 287.

Among other Indians, Amandeep Drall (69) finished a creditable T-16 alongside Vani Kapoor (78) who had a disappointing day in the office. Nishtha Madan (74) ended T-20, Ridhima Dilawari (74) was T-24, Khushi Khanijau (73) was T-31, Neha Tripathi (73) was T-36 as was amateur Vidhatri Urs, who ended the week with 78.