Vani grabs Australian LPGA card, gets starts for LET and LPGA events

Ballarat, Australia, Feb 1: Vani Kapoor became the first Indian to earn a card for the Australian Ladies PGA Tour (ALPG) after coming through their first-ever Qualifying Tournament at the Ballarat Golf Club.

Vani shot rounds of 71, 78 and 69 to finish at two-over 218 and was Tied-12th with three others.

The top-20 from a field of 81 earned playing rights on the Australian LPGA but there were many other benefits and spots available, too.

Other Indian girls in the ALPG Qualifying were Diksha Dagar, Tied-30th with round of 79-73-72; Astha Madan, Tied-37th with cards of 75-78-73 and Ridhima Dilawari, Tied-57th with cards of 76-79-76.

Despite not making the card, Diksha, Astha and Ridhima could get into some of the ALPG events, like the upcoming Ballarat Icons ALPG Pro-Am, where Diksha and Astha will get a start in the two-day AUD 30,000 event over the weekend alongside Vani.

Earlier, in the tense inaugural ALPG Qualifying Tournament, Tsai Peiying of Taiwan emerged as the winner after shooting a final round 1-under par 71 to finish at 9-under par and a 5-shot victory over American Cheyenne Knight and Australian Tamie Durdin.

With her ALPG rights secure, Vani also came through a play-off to decide the final spot for the Vic Open, which is co-sanctioned by the Australian LPGA and the US LPGA. Vani won the spot on the third play-off hole with a clutch five-foot putt. The Vic Open will thus be Vani’s LPGA debut.

Her finish also ensures Vani starts in three Ladies European Tour events to be played in Australia in February-March. The leading 15 players not otherwise exempt gained exemptions into the Australian Ladies Classic Bonville (Feb 21-24), the ActewAGL Canberra Classic (Mar 1-3) and the Women’s NSW Open (Mar 7-10), all co-sanctioned by the LET.