Defending champion Aditi Ashok will be rearing to script another triumph at the Women’s Indian Open when she takes the field alongside some of world’s best professional golfers who will ply their trade at the DLF Golf and Country club in Gurugram. Aditi will be India’s best bet in the tournament which will see athletes from over 25 countries compete. Carlota Siganda will go into the tournament as best ranked, the former Order of Merit winner in 2012  currently sits on the 20th spot in the world rankings.

The only Indian to have graced the title, Aditi Ashok knows the challenges which await her in the upcoming edition, but she believes that her good form will help her churn out the best in her own backyard. She has been paired up with Carlota Ciganda in the initial two rounds of the tournament which will make the affairs even more interesting. Aditi bagged her third title at the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open in Abu Dhabi and will look to continue the winning run in India. “Well I won last week so my game is in a good place so I hope it’s a good week for me,” said Aditi at the DLF Golf & Country Club.

In her journey towards glory, Aditi has let her game do the talking and spoken rarely about her achievements or her opponents with the media. Asked about her shyness from the media, she was straight on point making it clear that if they (reporters) try to interfere and affect my game I do avoid them. “I don’t shy away from press but during the week I focus on golf and if media is trying to interfere I don’t allow them and avoid them as my focus is more important, said the defending champion.

Spaniard Carlota Ciganda remains the star of the tournament making a trip to India for the fourth time in her professional career but is uncertain of her executions as the smog keeps her in doubt. Hoping that things would get clearer, she hinted that she would don a mask if needed in her quest for the title. The Rafael Nadal fan takes inspiration from the tennis ace and tries to implement his work ethics in her sphere. On sharing the field with him and playing a shot or two with him she says, “He (Nadal) is a great professional and his work ethics always motivate me,” said the two times European Ladies Amateur Championship winner.

Emphasising upon the vital fitness regime one needs to stick to, to compete on the field Spanish ace Belen Mozo reflects on her intense gym routine which helps her cope up with the pressurizing and hectic travel schedules. “Why is it that we work out, people think it’s funny but for me it’s really important to work out because our travel schedules are crazy and you have to keep playing, so when I go to the gym I work on both my mind and my body which helps me with my game, said Mozo who was an integral part of the Spanish side which won the International Crown in 2014.

Gaurika Bishnoi, the leader on Hero Order of Merit on the domestic tour will be another Indian who will light up India’s challenge against the golf elites at a field which she reckons her home and knows better than anyone else. Bishnoi’s knowledge of the yard gives her significant edge over others and she perhaps knows how to utilize the local factor to her cause. “Local knowledge is important and I feel I have an edge I have been playing here for last 8 years. It hasn’t been that great but I have worked and improved and I’m feeling really pumped,” said Bishnoi at the players’ press conference.

Other Indian challengers in the tournament will be Sharmila Nicollet, Vani Kapoor, Amandeep Drall, Neha Tripathi and Smriti Mehra. The Hero Women’s Indian Open going into its 11th edition will see one of the largest and strongest fields as 114 players from over 25 countries will compete on Indian soil.

Everything you need to know about the Hero Women’s India Open 2017

Field: 114 players

Prize money: $400,000

Venue: DLF Golf & Country Club

Defending champion: Aditi Ashok (India)

Top World ranked players

Carlota Ciganda (No – 20)

Aditi Ashok (No – 81)

Florentyna Parker (No – 121)

Beth Allen (No – 130)

Belen Mozo (No – 198)

Dates: 10-12 November