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Defending champion Caroline Hedwall will return to the Hero Women's Indian Open to try and extend her lease over the trophy for one more. And to do that, she is getting her favourite caddie: her Mother, who was on the bag last year, too.
Picking Carlota Ciganda as one of the favourites for the upcoming event, Hedwall also spoke about memories of spicy Indian food and the DLF Golf and Country Club.
The Hero Women's Indian Open, now in its sixth year, carries a prize purse of US $ 300,000 and will see top stars like Ladies European Tour Order of Merit leader, Carlota Ciganda of Spain, defending champion Hedwall, the legendary Laura Davies, who won in 2010, the two-time champion in 2008 and 2009, Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand, LET winners, Stacy Keating, Cassandra Kirkland and Trish Johnson.
"I have some great memories from there (the DLF Golf and Country Club) and I will bring my caddy from last year...mom!, " said Hedwall, who won four titles last year enroute to winning the Players' Player of the Year and the Rookie of the Year award at the same time.
Talking of her last year's campaign, the 23-year-old Swede Hedwall said, "Actually it was a very unexpected win as I got ill in the beginning of the week last year. I felt alright when the tournament started but was pretty low on energy and I guess that helped me as I didn't have any expectations on myself. I just went out there to have some fun and got off to a good start and also had a good week with my putter!."
Trying to emulate Pornanong Phatlum, the only player to win the Hero Women's Indian Open twice, Hedwall added, "I will definitely do my best to defend my title."
Speaking of her play during the week, "I remember hitting a lot of wedges and short irons into the greens, and that's one of the stronger parts of my game, so I gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities ad manage to make a lot of them too. Right now, this year, I feel like I've been playing better than I've scored my last couple of tournaments, but that's golf and hopefully I can shot some good score when I'm back in India."
When asked about Indian food, Hedwall was candid, "Indian food is too spicy for me, and as I got ill last year I stayed with toast and rice for the reminder of the week. I like the garlic nan-bread though."
The Indian experience was something that stayed with her. "The traffic....it was crazy! India is definitely very different from Sweden...lots of people everywhere! But I remember the people there as being very friendly and helpful, and its fun to have visited India."
Asked to pick a strong contender for the Indian Open, Hedwall said, "I've only played with Sharmila Nicolett and Smriti Mehra. As for the other LET players, its hard to say (who will contend), as I haven't played that much on the LET this year, and there are many good players that can be in contention on Sunday, but I know Carlota Ciganda has had a good year, so if I had to pick one player it would be her."
Recently, the 22-year-old Spaniard Ciganda, who leads the Order of Merit on LET Tour, said, "I am looking forward to my visit to India. I think I am going there on Monday and the tournament is Friday so if I would love to go and see the Taj Mahal."
Ciganda said, "I've never been (to India) but have heard from a few friends. I don't really know much, but I heard that the hotel is nice and the course is really nice. They told me to always drink water from a bottle. I like to travel and see new countries, new things."
If she also finishes on top of the Order of Merit, she will match the feat of Laura Davies, the only player to win the LET's Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year titles in the same year back in 1985. Ciganda would be approximately three months older than Davies when she won both titles 27 years ago were she to achieve the feat this December however she is trying not to think that far ahead.
Defending champion Caroline Hedwall of Sweden was also a Rookie when she won the Hero Women's Indian Open last year. So Ciganda will be hoping to repeat that.
The Hero Women's Indian Open is the last event before the season-ending Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.
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