A Playoff for the History Books

Written by Nikki Ponappa

It was nothing short of pure joy to see a 22 year old hold her composure and grit and come out victorious at the recently concluded Hero Women’s Pro tournament conducted at a most beautiful golf course in the Kashmir Valley, the Royal Springs Golf Course in Srinagar.

Ankita Tiwana who remained in contention almost gave the tournament away couple of times to a great short game exhibit by Shweta Galande but the last 50 meters truly belonged to grit and composure. And that’s where there was more to come.

Ankita and Shweta both went back and forth on one of the toughest holes in RSGC, the 18th for their play-off. The fairway guarded by bunkers and the green guarded by water. Not to mention the nerves it requires coming into a playoff to a tough hole.

Through the round both girls were neck to neck until the 16th where Ankita had a chance to take lead but Shweta’s short game displayed some grit yet again on the 17th. Ankita three-putted from 15 feet away while Shweta sank a tough one downhill to save par. Shweta kept cool to handle the gift of another hole to steer ahead by a shot of Ankita going into the 17th.

But then it changed a bit on the 18th which saw Ankita pass Shweta’s drive and set herself for an opportunity for her maiden win by sticking her approach to 6 feet. Shweta giving it her all yet found the green side water. For those of us watching, it nearly felt it was over. And then Ankita faltered. As a spectator it was so easy to say “what a putt to miss” but i can only imagine what Ankita must have gone through knowing that her opportunity slipped.

The first play off hole saw both player finding fairways and both over shooting the green. Ankita again three putted from the edge giving Shweta a second change to fight back.

What was special to hear was both players complimenting each other not just for a good show but pumping each other’s sentiments. Ankita jokingly told Shweta on the way to the tee for the third time “come one lets do this”!!! That was true sportsmanship displayed by such a young mind. The maturity is commendable and that both players were able to acknowledge the nerves of eachother with respect!

Shweta and Ankita went back to the 18th tee. More action was to follow. This time Ankita hitting her tee shot into the bunker on the right while Shweta not letting go of her nerve and hit her drive on the fairway. This time looking at Ankita’s lie and club selection all of us watching felt “OH MY GOD what is she doing? ”

To our surprise Ankita hit a shot (to mind ) – one of the best golf shots I have seen in a playoff – with no proper stance, ball stuck to the lip of the bunker and a rescue in hand with water and tough rough waiting to be embraced by Ankita’s ball. But the brilliant shot found the green setting up a 40 footer birdie. Meanwhile Shweta had over shot her second shot a chip and a putt was an absolute must.

All the giveaways Ankita let off put her bracing for a 40 footer and she almost sunk it and made her tap in par – putting all the pressure on Shweta who in a normal situation would never have missed a 5-8 footer for par but did this time and her bogey gave us a new winner on Tour – Ankita.

It was breathtaking, heartbeat stopping and clearly some great golf. Bravo to the grit and composure Ankita Tiwana displayed…. Bravoooo!!!!! Congratulations on your first win and thank you for great memories.

Published on GolfingIndian.com / Photo Credit: WGAI