Capetown (South Africa), March 16: Diksha Dagar became only the second Indian woman golfer to win on Ladies European Tour after clinching the South African Open, eking out a one-shot victory with a bogey-free final round, here on Saturday.
Dagar, 18, was trailing by two shots, but pipped the much-experienced Lee Anne Pace with a three-under final round. Dagar follows Aditi Ashok, who in 2016 became the first Indian to win on the LET. Aditi added two more LET wins and now plays on the LPGA.
Diksha also has ambitions of getting to the LPGA, which on current form looks a strong possibility. Dagar played at the Women’s Hero Indian Open as an amateur and made the cut. Her father, Narinder Dagar, who served in the Army, was on the bag for Diksha. Narinder helped her cope with the trauma of having hearing problems. She has been wearing hearing aids since the age of six.
A left-hander, Diksha is well-known for brand of aggressive and fearless golf. Her brother, Yogesh, who is also deaf, also plays golf and has been playing in age-group events. Dagar, who came in off a long flight from Australia, where she was Tied-5th at the NSW Open last week, began the week with double bogeys in first three holes. She had one more bogey on the 12th hole and ended the first day with a 76 but scoring was tough on a windy day and she was still inside Top-20.
Thereafter she played the next 42 holes without a blemish and finished at five-under 211, while Lee-Anne (72) ended at four-under 212. She rose to second by the end of the second day and finally won the title on the final day.
Dagar trailed till late into the back nine. She started one behind and Lee-Anne pulled to two clear with a birdie on 11th but bogeyed the 13th to fall back to five-under. Dagar birdied 15th and 16th and that helped her catch up leader Lee-Anne at five-under.
The South African dropped another shot on 17th and Dagar stayed steady and one ahead. As both parred the final hole the Indian won the title. Esther Henseleit (70) of South Africa and Michele Thompson (68) of Australia were tied for third at three-under 212, and Carly Booth (69) of England was fifth at 2-under 214.
Dagar, who turned 18 last December, is a silver medallist at the 2017 Summer Deaflympics. She also had a stellar Amateur career during which she also represented India at the 2018 Asian Games and won the 2018 Singapore Amateur title. She also won a Pro event on the Indian domestic Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour, before turning pro at the start of this year.