Simi to spearehead Indian challange at DLF Women's Indian Open

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Gurgaon, Mar 24 (UNI) Simi Mehra will lead the Indian challenge as an interesting blend of youth and experience is all set to take centerstage at the 120,000 dollar DLF Women's Indian Open Golf here on Thursday.

Though Simi, a long-time LPGA regular is hogging the pre-tournament headlines, the likes of Phatlum Pornanong, one of the rising stars of Asian women's golf and winner of this season's first event, the Thailand Ladies Open, and Sunny Park, an Australian of Korean origin, will be the others to watch out for.

Simi, once the longest hitter on the LPGA Tour, is slowly hitting her form once again. She was tenth at the Thailand Ladies Open and after the DLF Women's Indian Open, she plans to play on the LPGA where she has a special exemption.

On her preparation Simi said,''I treat every event the same, so the preparation I put for the Women's Indian Open will be the same as the LPGA event. I am sure Indian players will make a big impact during this event. This year we have a stronger field from the quality of players participating, so the results will be very interesting.'' Interestingly, Simi hinted that if there were any player other than her who could surprise the field, it would be teenager Tanya Wadhwa.

''I feel that she has the game and maturity to win the Women's Indian Open,'' she said.

Thailand's prodigious talent Phatlum Pornanong, who won this year's first event on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) had announced her arrival with a win while still being an amateur last year winning Hong Kong Open and has now begun fulfill her promise.

Sunny Park, started this season with a big bang as she captured the Australian Ladies Professional Golf-sanctioned Kangaroo Valley Peugeot Classic to register her first win as a professional.

Other leading internationals include the Japan-based Brazilian Iida Maria Priscila, who played the World Cup in 2007, China's Wang Chun represented her country in 2008, and the Japanese duo Shiraki Rie, a champion at the 2007 Guam Governer's Cup in USA Guam, and Sakurai Yuki, a rookie who was in 5th of 2008 MFS Womens Australian Open held in January.

Apart from Simi, India's other big challenger will be the talented Irina Brar, who was fourth last year. Irina, who has been straddling academics and golf at the same time, is capable of upsetting the best of players on her day. Other prominent Indian pros include Shalini Malik. Parneeta Grewal and Vandana Aggarwal.

India's teen brigade includes Tanya Wadhwa, who trains in the United States, Sharmila Nicollet, the All India amateur champion, and Meher Atwal, is capable of bringing in some stunning results.

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