Augusta invite for rising Indian star Prashanth

Avani Prashanth

Young Indian talent Avani Prashanth will become the first Indian woman to play at Augusta when she takes her place in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur field before the Masters in April.

The 15-year-old was the youngest winner of the All-India Ladies and Amateur tournament and the All-India Junior Girls – she has also triumphed on the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour.

The top-ranked Indian amateur, placed 128 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), recorded only one finish outside the top 10 on her 2021 results listed on the WAGR website. 

“I wanted to play the tournament but wasn’t expecting to get an invite. It feels amazing. Even in my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have thought I’d be invited for this prestigious event,” Prashanth told the Times of India.

“If I just play my natural game and if my putting works too, then I’m capable of winning the tournament.”

Prashanth, who first picked up a set of clubs before her fourth birthday, will follow in the footsteps of compatriots Jeev Milkha Singh, Anirban Lahiri, Arjun Atwal and Shubhankar Sharma to play the world-famous layout.

American Alexa Pano was 14 when she competed in the inaugural 2019 tournament and will take part in the third instalment – also her third appearance – from March 30-April 2.

Reigning champion, Tsubasa Kajitani of Japan, was 17 when she clinched playoff glory last year – a win which secured invites to the US Women’s Open and Women’s British Open among many other high-profile events.

The three-round event’s first two days are contested at nearby Champions Retreat before a practise day for all competitors at Augusta, the Saturday reserved for the finale at the iconic 18-hole course which has hosted the Masters since 1934.