Teen amateur golfer Pranavi Urs nailed two late birdies to emerge as the best-placed Indian at Tied-10th after the opening round of the Hero Women’s Indian Open at Gurugram on Thursday.
The 16-year-old from Mysore, a past winner on the domestic pro tour, brought home a card of one-under 71 at the DLF Golf and Country Club to lie four shots behind the two leaders – England’s Meghan MacLaren and Whitney Hilliers of Australia.
Meghan and Whitney shared the lead at five-under 67.
Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord and England’s Liz Young were tied third at four-under 68 each, while Swede Linda Wessberg (69) was fifth.
Four players, including Europe’s Solheim Cup-winning captain, Catriona Matthew, were tied-sixth on two-under 70 and another eight players shot 71s to be Tied-10th including Pranavi.
Adding to the action on the first day was Lucknow-based 19-year-old Jyotsana Singh, a late entrant, who aced the par-3 16th. She had an interesting finish - four bogeys between 13th and 18th with an ace in between on 16th for 73. She closed with two bogeys.
Pranavi, teeing off in the afternoon, played a steady out-bound nine to make the turn-on level par 36. Though she dropped a shot early, back to back birdies in the final two holes made sure she would be the only Indian to go under par on the opening day.
Among other Indians, Diksha Dagar and domestic tour regulars Amandeep Drall and Tvesa Malik were Tied-18th after carding 72 each.
Amandeep mixed three gained shots against three bogeys in her round, finishing off with an excellent birdie on the ninth hole, her last of the day with the pin awkwardly placed on a shelf right at the back of the green.
Diksha had an even more adventurous day in the course in which she hit five birdies but squandered those gains with three bogeys and a double, while Tvesa had a more sedate round, her two birdies cancelling out two dropped shots. In each case, the final score for the day could have been a better one.
One shot behind them on one-over 73 and tied in 28th place were Neha Tripathi, Gaurika Bishnoi, Astha Madan and 19-year-old tour rookie Jyotsana Singh, who recorded the only hole-in-one on Thursday.
A further shot behind at 74 in shared 42nd were amateurs Seher Atwal and Jahnavi Bakshi, along with Vani Kapoor, for whom the DLF G&CC is her home course.
For defending champion Becky Morgan and 2017 winner Camille Chevalier, though, it was a day to forget.
While the Frenchwoman was three-over 75 and tied 58th, Morgan was three shots further behind on six-over 78 and tied 80th.
Ajeetesh Sandhu placed fourth at Taiwan Masters
India’s Ajeetesh Sandhu went on a birdie spree to turn in a four-under 68 and lie fourth after the opening round of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters in Tamsui, Chinese Taipei on Thursday.
Sandhu, starting from the back nine, opened with a bogey but blasting five birdies on the trot from 13th to 17th to turn in four-under.
On the second nine – the front side of the Taiwan Golf and Country Club course, he had nine pars to total 68.
Philippines’ Miguel Tabuena and Malaysia’s Nicholas Fung, who are sharing a room this week, returned matching five-under 67s to be tied for the first-round lead with South Africa’s Keith Horne.
Among other Indians, S Chikkarangappa was Tied-8th with 70, while Aman Raj and Khalin Joshi shot 71 each to T-17, Rashid Khan, Chiragh Kumar, Viraj Madappa and Abhijit Chadha carded 72 each and were T-30th.
Aadil Bedi (74) was T-59th, Shiv Kapur (75) was T-79 and Jeev Milkha Singh (76) was T-90.
“I made five birdies in a row and I think that was the most exciting part of the day. I played really well and it should have been a lot lower, but that’s okay. I’ve played here a few times, not really played well here actually,” Sandhu said.
“But honestly, I think I like the looks of it. Because there’s a lot of doglegs and stuff to shape it around. Hopefully, the wind picks up so it becomes a bit tougher.
“Yeah, I mean, I like the layout for sure. I haven’t had a good result so far but I’ve been feeling positive especially in this stretch. I’ve had some good rounds, but haven’t been able to finish it off. Like last week in Japan, I was playing well and then I had a bad round.”
Thailand’s Danthai Boonma is tied for fifth with Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wei-lun and Lin Yung-lung.