Odisha Sun Times Sports Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 18:
Lakhi Swain became the first woman golfer from Odisha to have won an international trophy when she won her debut tournament at the 6th Ballantine’s Team-Am Golf Challenge at Jakarta held from September 8 to 10.
The 53-year old golfer bagged the champion’s title in the women category, scoring 97 points, the highest individual Gross Stableford score aggregated over three rounds in three days. Incho Dukuna scored 73 points and received the runners-up trophy.
Notably, two other Odia ladies – Alpana Dash and Manasi Mohapatra – scored 72 and 71 points respectively. Overall, 220 golfers participated in the tournament that was held over three different courses.
“It was challenging for me to get my game right without any international experience and preparation. While other contestants had arrived earlier and had some idea about the course, I arrived just before the tournament and had very little time to acclimatize to the conditions. The different variety of grass and the course itself was also tough and I managed to score only 26 points on day-1, which was pretty bad. However, I managed to recover in the next two days,” said Lakhi.
The golfer had been advised against playing 18 hole golf by the doctors because of a surgery she had undergone. The surgery had also kept her away from the course for about a year. However, her determination led her to win the tournament with a strong performance.
“I had never played in any international tournament earlier. Even though I was a little nervous in the beginning and tired and exhausted playing 18 holes, I secured the title because of God’s grace, my patience and hard work. I had earlier played in various places including Mumbai, Kolkata, Jamshedpur and Bhubaneswar golf courses and had secured many wins,” she added.