Gursimar, Sonam share first round lead in fifth leg of Hero WPGT

Greater NOIDA, Feb 21: Gursimar Badwal lived up to her billing of being a favourite as she picked a share of the opening round’s lead in the fifth leg on Wednesday. She shot two-under 70. The surprise co-leader was Sonam Chugh.

One shot behind them was Neha Tripathi, still in search for her first title of the season. The top three are the only players with sub-par rounds on the opening day.

Amateur Tanirika Singh (73) shared the fourth place with Anisha Padukone. Ayesha Kapur and Saaniya Sharma carded 74 each to be Tied-sixth. Last week’s winner and runner-up, Tvesa Malik and Suchitra Ramesh were Tied-eighth at 75 each alongside Afshan Fatima.

Gursimar, who has finished in Top-5 in each of the first four legs, bogeyed the second hole but quickly made up with a birdie on fourth. A dropped shot on fifth was neutralized by a birdie on sixth. After that she did not drop a single shot for next 12 holes but picked up birdies on ninth and 11th. Her back nine was flawless with one birdie. She can now eye her second win of the season and the possibility of re-claiming the top spot on the Hero Order of Merit.

Sonam Chugh, who has not finished in the Top-10 in any her of three starts so far this season, had an incredible seven birdies, four on the front nine and three on the back nine. However, she also dropped five bogeys.

Neha Tripathi had three birdies against two bogeys in her round.

Amateur Tanirika Singh carded a round of 73, which had two birdies against three bogeys. She was joint fourth with Anisha Padukone, who had three birdies against four bogeys.

Siddhi Kapoor (76) was 11th while Smriti Mehra and Mehar Atwal were Tied-12th with cards of 78 each.

Trisha Sunil and Millia Saroha will be the first two-ball to go out in the second round, while Tavleen Batra, Khushi Khanijau and Mehar Atwal will be in the second group. Smriti Mehra, Siddhi Kapoor and Afshan Fatima will play in the third group, while Suchitra Ramesh, Tvesa Malik and Saaniya Sharma will play together in the fourth group. Ayesha Kapur, Anisha Padukone and amateur Tanirika Singh will constitute the last but one three-ball, while Neha Tripathi, Sonam Chugh and Gursimar Badwal will tee-off in the final group.