At the Australian Master of Amateurs at the Southern Golf Club in Melbourne, Indian golfer Avani Prashanth seemed to have recovered superbly in the first round from a starting bogey with seven birdies over the next 11 holes.
17-year-old Avani Prashanth, the only Indian woman golfer to be ranked in the world top 50, is one of four Indian players in the prestigious Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship and Australian Amateurs this month. She is joined by Heena Kang, Sandeep Yadav and Rohit.
Currently playing the annual Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship 9-12 Jan, the four will play at the high-profile Australian Amateur Championship at the Yarra Yarra Golf Club and Keysbrough Golf Club, 16-19 Jan, 2024.
A two-time All India Amateur winner among women, Avani said, “It is always an honour to play for India. I have had some good results in 2023 and my long-term aim is pro golf, but right now these two events in Australia, which are very prestigious, are my focus. I have a lot of big events coming up in 2024, and hopefully, the results will be even better than 2023, which was a great year for me.”
Yesterday, Avani opened with a bogey but then birdied the second, fourth and seventh holes. She then had four birdies in a row from ninth to 12th to move a sensational 6-under with six holes to go. She dropped four shots between the 14th and the 18th and ended up with 2-under 71 at the Par-73 course. She finished tied fifth, while the lead was held by Nika Ito of Japan, who carded 5-under 68.
The scores were not too happy for the other Indians as Heena Kang shot 10-over 83 and was Tied-61st.
Among the men, Rohit Narwal shot 4-over 76 at T-79 at the Par-72 course, while Sandeep Yadav was 12-over 84 and 95th.
Although Avani Prashanth has put on hold her plans to turn professional, she has represented India numerous times, winning the Queen Sirikit Cup, placing fourth in the individual section of the World Amateur Team Championships in Abu Dhabi, and winning a professional event, while being an amateur, in Europe.
Heena, one of the two golf-playing sisters, Ceerat being the other, topped the domestic IGU Order of Merit for 2023 with a string of consistent performances, and wears India colours for the first time in Melbourne. Coached by Laurence Brotheridge from Leeds, UK, she is hoping to make a mark in her international debut.
Among the men, Rohit won twice last year in India and topped the IGU Order of Merit. He was also the runner-up at the 2023 All India Amateur Championships in Kolkata.
Sandeep Yadav won the 2022 All India Amateurs, the Indian Golf Union’s flagship event, which is more than 100 years old.