DLF Women's Indian Open can throw up an Indian winner

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Gurgaon, Mar 25 (UNI) The proof of the pudding is in its eating, and, if any proof is needed about the success of the DLF Women's Indian Open, one has to only look at two things: the prize money and the field that will be vying for honours in the three-day event that gets underway here tomorrow.

One, the prize money for this edition has increased by 20 per centover last year. From 100,000 dollars to 120,000 dollars , and two, four regular European Tour players will rub shoulders with some of the most promising golfers in what is a most sought-after 54-hole premier event in the region.

The Indian challenge will be spearheaded by Smriti Mehra and Irina Brar who were part of the World Cup field in January.

''I am sure Indian players will make a big impact during this week. I know I am capable of winning it,'' Smriti said. ''I also feel the chances of an Indian winning are very high.'' ''Even last year we had a couple of Indians in the top five, of which one was an amateur. This year we have a stronger field of quality of players participating, so the results will be very interesting,'' she added.

Besides Smriti and Irina, the other Indian players like Shalini Malik, Sanniya Sharma, Nalini Singh, Nonita Lall Qureshi, Seema Sobti, Pallavi Jain, Preetinder Kaur and Vandana Aggarwal among others will be keen to make their presence felt.

Add the teen brigade of amateur challengers- Tanya Wadhwa (16), Sharmila Nicollet (16), Meher Atwal (13) and Neha Tripathi- to that and you have a great field.

Among the foreign brigade, the winner and the runner-up of last year's event-Tseng Na Yi of Chinese Taipei and Russee Gulyanamitta of Thailand, who have gone on to excel on the LPGA Tour, will also be seen in action.

The star attraction of the event will be the four Ladies European Tour regulars-Jenni Kuosa (Finland) and Britain's Fame More, Danielle Montgomery and Kiran Matharu.

In addition, there are tough customers in Brazil's Iida Maria Priscila, China's Yan Pan Pan and India's However, Celeste Troche from Paraguay, who was part of the 2007 World Cup winning squad unfortunately pulled out at the last minute due to personal reasons.

In all, there will be about 60 professionals and 12 amateurs in the field and after two rounds the 'cut' will be applied, leaving the field thrown open for the top-50 to battle it out in the money round.

They will vie for the top cheque of 18,000 dollars, while the 50th placed golfer stands to gain 600 dollars.

UNI XC AB KN2113

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