Delhi Golf Club (DGC) amateur Gauri Monga made the Women's Indian Open 2013 memorable for local fans as she finished a creditable tied fifth in New Delhi on Saturday.
In the benign course conditions at the DGC, the 20-year-old shot a two-under 70 for the second consecutive day to aggregate three-under 143. She finished for a tied fifth place with Ladies European Tour (LET) sensation Charley Hull of England, who shot a 72, and US veteran Beth Allen, who carded day's best round of six-under 66.
In one of the most outstanding performances of her career, Gauri finished her campaign at the event five strokes behind the winner, Thidapa Suwannapura of Thailand.
This is the second-best performance by an Indian at the Women's Indian Open as Meghna Bal and Irina Brar finished tied fourth in the first edition of the tournament in 2007.
Among other Indians in the fray, Neha Tripathi, who is the winner of the order of merit on the Hero Women's Professional Golf Tour 2013, shot an even-par 72 to finish as the next best Indian after Gauri in tied 24th position.
Veteran Smriti Mehra (73), youngster Vani Kapoor (72) and amateur Gurbani Singh (70) ended tied 34th, with a total of nine-over 223 each. A stroke further behind was amateur Ridhima Dilawari (73) in the 41st position.
Sharmila Nicollet, who is the only Indian to have an LET card, shot a 72 to finish 44th.
Gauri, who shot a 73 and 70 on the first two days, started her third and final round on a wrong foot when she missed a putt from four feet to drop a bogey on the third hole. She recovered to pick her first birdie of the day on the ninth hole when her 15-footer found the target. She fumbled a bit when she dropped a shot on 10th after a bad chip, but soon made amends by holing an eight-footer for a birdie on 11th.
Gauri carried her momentum and went two-under after one more birdie on 16th, after she sank a putt from six feet.
She said she was amazed at her performance on her home course. "I didn't think I would finish as high as fifth. Playing at the home course worked in my favour, and except a triple bogey on the first day, I had a tremendous week."
Asked if she felt nervous in front of home crowd, she said, "I was nervous since the people I know were on the course to watch me playing golf. I told myself to not to take pressure and just remain calm. I didn't even look at the leaderboard and played my natural game," said Gauri.