Lucknow: Neha Tripathi had a great start and a fine finish and she was also steady in between as she grabbed a handy three-shot lead at the end of the first round of the 15th Leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour.
Playing at the Palms Golf Club and Resort in Lucknow, Neha Tripathi, , who has two wins this season, shot two-under 68 and was three shots ahead of Afshan Fatima and Gaurika Bishnoi, who carded rounds of one-over 71 each.
Neha had wins in the first leg at Ahmedabad and the 13th leg at Greater NOIDA, Gaurika triumphed in the third leg at Kolkata in the Hero WPGT. Winner of two titles, Amandeep Drall was lying sole fourth with a round of two-over 72.
Smriti Mehra and Ayesha Kapur were Tied-5th at 73, while Mehar Atwal (74) was seventh with Gursimar Badwal (75), Tvesa Malik (76) and Siddhi Kapoor (77) behind her in that order.
The highlight of the day was an eagle each by Neha Tripathi and Afshan Fatima. Neha birdied second and fourth and played pars till running into a bogey on 11th and 13th. She reached the green on the short Par-4 17th hole measuring to 246 yards from the tee, putted out for a two and closed with a par on 18th.
Afshan eagled the even shorter Par-4 fourth, which was playing to 230 yards. Towards the end she had birdies on 16th and 17th at which point she was one-under for the round. A double bogey on 18th saw her finish at 71.
Many of the players took advantage of the two short par-4s on fourth and 17th holes.
Saaniya Sharma, the lone Indian to make the cut at last week’s Sanya Ladies Open in China, had a disaster on the par-5 16th. She had a rough start where she bogeyed third, double bogeyed the short fourth and bogeyed the sixth as well. But then she steadied herself till she came to the par-5 16th, where she shot a 10 and she finished at nine-over 79 alongside amateur Gurjot Badwal.
In the second round, Neha Tripathi will play with Afshan Fatima and the Order of Merit leader Gaurika Bishnoi, while Smriti Mehra will go out with Ayesha Kapur and Amandeep Drall. Tvesa Malik, Gursimar Badwal and Mehar Atwal play together and in the first group of the second day, Saaniya Sharma will play alongside Gurjot Badwal and Siddhi Kapoor.