Queen Sirikit Cup: Avani leads individual standings, India lying second in team contest

Manila (Philippines), 23 Feb: Avani Prashanth returned a 2-under 70 card to maintain her pole position on the third day at the Queen Sirikit Open Golf Championship.
The Indian, who now aggregates 12-under 204, has a five-shot lead over local woman Rianne Mikhaela Malixi (209).
At one point Indian also led the Koreans in the team standings. Heading into Friday’s final round over the Jack Nicklaus-designed Masters Course, Korea have a team aggregate of seven-under 425 in the event in which the two best daily scores in each three-strong team are counted.
Inspired by Avani, India remain very much in contention for their maiden Queen Sirikit Cup crown, just two shots off the pace. Japan were third at 433.
Playing in the last flight, Avani had her first bogey of the day at 16. At 18, a sharp dog-leg right, the Indian hooked her drive onto the 16th fairway. With 195 yards remaining, she opted to go for the green with her six-iron, despite an obscured view of the putting surface.
It was gamble that did not pay off, her ball ricocheting off a tree and flying into the lake guarding the right side of the 18th hole. From there she could only manage a six.
“It was my first bad drive of the day and I then should have hit a lay-up,” said Avani, who was well supported by Vidhatri Urs who posted an even-par 72. Although her 74 did not count, Nishna Patel’s best round of the week to date will have boosted her confidence.
Despite her late wobble, Avani, 97th in the WAGR, vowed to continue to adopt an aggressive approach as India aim to pull of an historic victory at Manila Southwoods.
She said: “I am more excited than nervous. It would mean a lot to win both the team and individual, but especially the team. It would really help to put India on the golfing map. I will be staying aggressive, but will be trying not to do anything stupid, like I did on 18 today.” Korean Kim Min-sol soared with two eagles in the final four holes to keep Korea in pole position.
The 16-year-old Kim’s late heroics summed up a day of wildly fluctuating fortunes at the sun-baked Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club, during which the lead alternated between Korea and India on numerous occasions. PTI

Thanks to Kim’s 73 and a 71 from Yoo Hyun-jo it was Korea who ended the third round on top of the leaderboard as they chase an eighth Asia-Pacific Amateur Ladies Golf Team Championship title in the last nine years. PTI