Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Golf: Pranavi Urs ready to tee off in Singapore Ladies Masters

Pranavi Urs continues her globe-trotting season as she tees up in the Trust Golf Singapore Ladies Masters, in a fourth continent in just over six months of 2023, here on Thursday.

The 20-year old Pranavi is one of the three Indians in the field of 129 players with 111 professionals and 18 amateurs. The other two are amateur Avani Prashanth and Seher Atwal.

Pranavi, who topped the Women’s Pro Golf Tour of India in 2022, played in Ladies European Tour events in South Africa at the start of 2023 and then headed to the US for the Epson Tour, which is one level below the LPGA.

She then went over to Europe for a few events, again on the LET, before coming to Singapore for the first-ever Chinese LPGA event outside China.

It has been a season of great learning for Pranavi.

“I am looking forward to the Singapore Ladies Masters. It is humid but I have played in such weather before. I had a practice round on Tuesday but then just practised today on the range and greens,” said Pranavi.

It will be a nice experience for Pranavi, who later this year, will be going to China for the Asian Games. Giving her company in Singapore this week is amateur Avani Prashanth, who has been given a special invite by Lyn Yeo, promoter of the event, who also runs the US Kids Golf Singapore.

“Avani’s track record in US Kids and her current showing are great, so we were pleased to have over,” said Lyn.

Avani is the highest ranked amateur in the field at 77, while Singapore’s Shannon Tan is 81st ranked amateur. Avani will also be at the Asian Games.

Seher Atwal, winner of the first event on her domestic WPGT in India, is third Indian in the field. Seher has also been dividing her time between the Indian Tour and the LET.

“As professionals we play golf wherever we get a chance and now it is Singapore,” said Seher at the event, which has players from 14 countries present.

Kevin Kwee, Executive Director of the Laguna National Golf Resort Club, said, “This tournament is an evidence of our commitment to promoting golf in the region. This year alone we had a DP World (European) Tour event, a Ladies European Tour and have already hosted the first in the series of six US Kids Golf Tour events. So, we are promoting golf for all sections. Countries like China, India, Korea, Thailand and others have so much talent and many have already shown it. Now we want to give a chance to others.”

With China LPGA back to 18 events this season after a drop due to the pandemic, it has opened a new avenue for professional players seeking World Ranking Points. In the past, Indians Sharmila Nicollet and Ridhima Dilawari had status in China.

Avani will be the first among Indians to tee off with Wanchana Poruangrong and Munchin Keh of New Zealand, while Seher Atwal will tee off with Liu Peng Shan of Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong’s Huang Zhiying. Pranavi plays with Liang Yi-Lin and Li Fang.

The field also includes current Thailand’s Order of Merit leader Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong, China’s Shi Yuli, Sui Xiang, Malaysia’s Genevieve Ling and Korea’s Jiwoo Park.

The top 60 professional players (including ties) in the first two rounds will advance to the final round on Saturday.

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