Gursimar takes first round lead in 11th leg of Hero Women’s Pro Tour at Hyderabad

Hyderabad, September 6: Favourite Gursimar Badwal continued from where she left off last week with a round of two-over 73 that gave her the sole lead in the first round of the 11th Leg of the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour at the Hyderabad Golf Association Club.

The 24-year-old Kapurthala golfer, who is seeking a hat-trick of wins, after winning both the legs in Bengaluru last month, was one shot clear of Amandeep Drall and Smriti Mehra, who shot 74 each.

The play on the first day was hit by bad weather and play was suspended for 85 minutes between 10.30 a.m. and 11.55 a.m.

The field has just one amateur, Rhea P Saravanan, who plays with Ayesha Kapur and Saaniya Sharma. Amandeep Drall has been drawn with Smriti Mehra and Suchitra Ramesh.

Gursimar, whose form was rather modest for the first eight legs of the Hero WPGT, during which her best was Tied-3rd in Eagleton in the seventh leg in July, has been in excellent form since last month. She won the ninth and 10th legs in Bengaluru and is now contending for a third straight title.

However on Wednesday, Gursimar got off to a poor start with three bogeys in a row from third to fifth, before she began the damage control. She recovered with a birdie on sixth and then over the next eight holes she further repaired her card with two birdies on 12th and 14th and the remaining were pars. At even par through 14 holes, she seemed to be heading for a sub-par round before back-to-back bogeys set her back to two-over 73.

Amandeep Drall and Smriti Mehra also suffered setbacks on the tougher back nine. Amandeep who opened birdie-birdie was one-under through the front half with one more birdie and two bogeys at which stage she was one-under. On the back nine, she bogeyed 12th, 13th and 15th and despite a birdie in between on 14th, she ended with a double on 18th for a three-over 74.

Smriti, India’s most successful player on the domestic circuit, started with a double but then steadied and was one-over for the front nine. A birdie on 10th brought her to even par, but a stretch of double bogey-bogey-bogey between 13th and 15th pushed her back. She birdied the last but finished with 74 as she looks for her first win this season.

Sonam Chugh and Siddhi Kapoor carded 75 each to be Tied-4th, while Ayesha Kapur, Saaniya Sharma and Trisha Sunil shot 76 each to be Tied-6th. Amateur Rhea P Saravanan (78) and Afshan Fatima (79) completed the Top 10.

Neha Tripathi and Suchitra Ramesh shot 80 each to be Tied-11th, while Tavleen Batra (81) was 12th. Mehar Atwal had a bad day with a card of 91 and retired from the tournament.

On the second day, Gursimar will go out with Amandeep Drall and Smriti Mehra in the lead group.