Gurugram : Defending champion Camille Chevalier of France will be among the favourites when the Womens Indian Open golf tournament gets underway here on Thursday.
Former champion Caroline Hedwall of Sweden, Australian Sarah Kemp and the leading Ladies European Tour rookie this year, Swedish Julia Engstrom will also be part of a strong international contingent.
The traditional trophy and a cheque of $75,000 await the winner as the tournament carries a record winner's purse $500,000.
The local challenge includes Vani Kapoor -- India's top player at the event last year -- and Tvesa Malik, playing her first HWIO as a professional. Tvesa leads the local Order of Merit on the Hero Women's Professional Golf Tour.
The leading players got around to talking about their plans, before going onto the Hero Skills Challenge, which has become the regular warm-up and forerunner to the main event.
Vani, tied sixth last year, has had an average season this year, but is hopeful of a strong finish to get her 2019 card.
"I have been preparing hard. I was hit by tendinitis a few days back but I am hoping to get over that. This is my home course and I know it well, but as they say in golf, every shot is a new one and you never play the same shot again. Last one year has been one of great learning," she said.
The 22-year-old Tvesa has been having a great year with multiple wins and is looking forward to playing her first HWIO as a pro.
"It has been a great season and I have been improving a lot and I have been really looking forward to this event for long. I have played here often and know the course well and it is very challenging and is in great shape," she said.
"As for my plans, I plan to go to the LET Q-School this year and have picked Vani's brains on this a lot."