Neha gave tough competition to Junthima and both the golfers finished at 4-under 140 after two rounds. Neha, who had scored 72 in the first round, improved her game with six marvellous birdies, which lifted her to the top of the leader board with the score 4-under 68.
Junthima finished at second in the first round, adapted herself quickly with the Jack Nicklaus-designed course and hit four birdies to finish the final round with 3-under 69.
Both the players faced each other in the playoff, but the Thai golfer Junthima outplayed Neha to clinch the pro-am golf trophy.
Another Indian Sharmila Nicollett, who scored three-over 75 in first round, finished at respectable third position. She scored three-under 69 in the second round and concluded her challenge at par 144.
The grand finale of the 17th edition of the Business Today-Honda Pro-Am of Champions stored an exciting match-up as 10 of India’s leading professional women golfers along with 10 lady professionals from abroad teed off at the Jack Nicklaus designed Classic Golf Resort on the weekend of March 3-4.
In a move aimed at the development and growth of women’s golf in India, the Business Today-Honda Pro-Am of Champions entered into a tie-up with the Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) last year after supporting the cause of men’s professional golf for 15 seasons in what was a much-awaited event in both the corporate and professional calendar in the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Anil Mehra, Managing Director, India Today Group, said, “In 1996, Business Today created history by bringing together top Indian amateur, professional, and corporate golfers into a unique standalone Pro-am golf event. A tournament rich in history, it has seen the best of the best participate in the past, in their quest for victory. No wonder, some of the biggest names in Indian professional golf have been a part of this prestigious event.”
“Last year, Business Today and Honda registered another first – to support Indian women golfers and offer them a platform to compete with their international counterparts – together with India’s business leaders as part of this unique event. The intent is to contribute to the development of golf in India and create champion women golfers, who will take Indian golf to greater heights in future,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Jnaneswar Sen, Sr. VP, Sales & Marketing, Honda Siel Cars India Ltd said, "It gives us immense pleasure to be associated with one of the most premium Golf tournaments in the country. Business Today Honda Pro-Am of Champions is a great opportunity for Honda as it gives corporate leaders and Indian Professional golfers, who form an important segment of our target audience, an opportunity to experience our premium offerings − the Honda Accord and the Honda CR-V. Honda cars are famous for their advanced technology and performance, qualities truly embodied in golf which stands for accuracy and technique."
The exclusive field will see a heady mixture of top notch CEOs from across the country and is sponsored by Honda SIEL Cars India, one of India’s leading car manufacturers, in association with Franklin Templeton and ITC Hotels.
Smriti Mehra, the best known Indian in professional women golf and the only Indian to have played in the lucrative US LGPA, won her third title in the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour in Kolkata last week. She leads a terrific line-up of Indian professionals that also includes second-ranked Nalini Singh, No. 3 Sharmila Nicollet, No. 4 Neha Tripathi, and No. 5 Saaniya Sharma among others.
Adding color and class to the two-day event will be US-based promising Numa Gulyanamitta, seasoned Thailand professional Russamee Gulyanamitta, Malaysian Ainil Abu Bakar Johani, Singapore’s Ji Jiali, Brunei’s Valeri Tan, Indonesian Lidya Ivana Jaya, the Japanese pair of Mika Ikemura and Seiko Miyata, and Germany’s Elizabeth Esterl.
Leading head honchos like Ashok Jha, Chairman - MCX; Dinesh Lal, ED – Maersk India; Arun Khanna, MD - Haier Telecom India P. Ltd.; Harinder Sikka – Piramal Healthcare; Kavi Arora – Religare Finvest; Prithvi Bijlani – Amsure Insurance; Rajeev Chopra – Philips Lighting; Sanjeev Prasad – Leaseplan India; Varun Berry – Pepsi Foods and Vijay Chauhan of Parle Products will be seen in action over the weekend.
The five-legged event teed off in Panchkula and visited Kolkata, Bangalore and Mumbai before the final stop – New Delhi – where the respective winners from each city will also be seen in action. The Individual winners in each handicap category will take home a trophy and a PING G20 Golf Set.
The members of the Winning & Runners-up teams get exciting prizes.
While the professionals will be playing for prize money, a mega prize of a Honda CR-V will be awarded to the first player (amateurs only) to card a hole-in-one on the par-3 hole No.5. Incidentally there has not been a single taker in the tournament’s 16-year history. Apart from the hole-in-one prize, the players will be tested in all the departments of the game such the Closest to Pin, Longest Drive, and Straightest Drive.
Individual Winners & Winning Teams from Delhi and all the other regions get to travel to Dubai for 2 nights and participate in the International leg at The Montgomerie. The stay will be courtesy The Address Hotels, Dubai.
Sobha Developers, the builders of International City in Gurgaon are the Lifestyle partner. PING is the Equipment partner, Ballantines the beverage partner, Cotstyle the Apparel partner and NEO Sports and Golf Digest are Media partners for this prestigious event.
1st Junthima Gulyanamitta (Thailand) 71, 69 (140);
2nd Neha Tripathi (India) 72, 68 (140);
3rd Sharmila Nicollett (India) 75, 69 (144);
4th Valerie Tan (Brunei Darussalam) 78, 67 (145);
5th Smriti Mehra (India) 74, 72 (146);
6th Mika Ikemura (Japan) 73, 75 (148)