Sharmila aims to challenge the best in European tour

She is the youngest Indian to qualify for the Ladies European Tour and Nicollet says her next aim is to win an event there and make the cut for the prestigious LPGA within the next three years.

Last updated on Sunday, 22 January, 2012 16:38 IST
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New Delhi: She is the youngest Indian to qualify for the Ladies European Tour and Sharmila Nicollet says her next aim is to win an event there and make the cut for the prestigious LPGA within the next three years.

Sharmila fired a six foot birdie on the third play-off hole of the qualifiers at the South Course, Spain to clinch the 30th spot and become the second India after Smriti Mehra to make the cut at the LET.

"It was hectic and tough to compete there with so many golfers pouring in from different parts of the world. Six players were in competition for two places and it was nerve-wrecking for me to stand there and deliver with so many people back home supporting me and counting on me. But I felt so overwhelmed when I finally dropped that six-feet birdie," she told PTI.

"I'd an aim to make the cut this year and my next aim would be to win a European tour event, emulate someone like Caroline Hedwell and follow on her footsteps.

"I want to give myself two years to play in the LET and when I am 23, I want to see myself at the LPGA, that is my ultimate dream," she added.

Sharmila said qualifying for the LET will also give a push to her dream of winning an Olympic medal in 2016.

"Winning a medal in the 2012 Olympics also remains my priority and this will give a push to that dream. Playing against players who are better, will help me to change my game and I am aiming for 2016," she said.

The 20-year-old Bangalorean said she has to be consistent with under-par scores and work on her putting to challenge the best on the European tour.

"It would be a tough one year in Europe. I have to learn to regulate my score and hit under-par consistently as in Europe a big number will push you back say 20 places and it is very difficult to comeback.

"My putting has to improve, that is something that separates me from them. I am happy with my swing, I had a few minor changes, there are some work in progress. It has been a tough year for me," she added.

Sharmila said she wants to play the first two tournaments in Australia in the European tour but is still undecided.

"My next tournament is in Australia and I haven't been there, so I am contemplating going there. I would also want to play a few tournaments in India, get back to my roots. So I'm yet to decide on the tournaments which I would play. I have to play all the tournaments and take care of my ranking to retain my card," she said.

Gold Coast - RACV Australian Ladies Masters and ISPS Handa Australian Open are the two tournaments lined up at RACV Royal Pines Resort, Queensland and Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Melbourne, respectively in the first two weeks of next month.

The lanky golfer, whose father Marc Nicollet stays in Paris, has decided to put up with him as it would make travelling in between the tournament less cumbersome.

"I have my dad in Paris, so it would be easier for me to go to Paris for a week and do up and down. From India it would be difficult, it would be costly,"

Story first published on: Sunday, 22 January 2012 15:35 IST

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