Sharmila takes lead in season opener of women’s golf

August 4th, 2010 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Aug 4 (IANS) Sharmila Nicollet opened the new season of the Hero Honda Women’s Professional Golf Tour in style by taking a two-shot lead with the only par round of the day at the picturesque 6,038-yard Eagleton Golf course here Wednesday.

The 19-year-old Sharmila, who topped the Order of Merit last season and won two titles, had three birdies and three bogeys in her par round, that gave her a two-shot lead over Jaipur golfer Pallavi Jain (74).

Chandigarh’s Saaniya Sharma and Nikki Ponappa, also from Bangalore shot 77 each to be placed third, while namesakes Nalini Singh Siwach and Nalini Singh shot 78 each.

Leading the amateur pack was Nikita Arjun, whose 82 gave her a two-shot lead over Kasvi Malik and Anisha Padukone, younger daughter of badminton legend, Prakash Padukone, was third with 85.

Sharmila who represented India at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, is continuing with her superb form from last season during which she won twice and finished second to the highly experienced Smriti Mehra three times. Smriti currently playing on the international circuit, is not in the field this week.

She adjusted to the fast greens rather well and drove really long with the drive on the 15th and 18th coming close to 300 yards. Sharmila opened with a birdie on the fourth, but dropped shots on the eighth and ninth saw her turn in one-over. A third successive bogey on 10th saw her go two-over. But from there on the long-hitting local girl was consistent with birdies on 11th and 13th and pars on the rest for a well-deserved 72.

The Bangalore tournament is the first leg in the 10-leg Hero Honda Women’s Professional Golf Tour that entered its fifth year.

Leading Scores (Round 1): 1. Sharmila Nicollet - 72; 2. Pallavi Jain - 74; 3. Saaniya Sharma and Nikki Ponappa - 77; 5. Nalini Singh Siwach and Nalini Singh - 78

Amateurs: 1. Nikita Arjun - 82; 2. Kasvi Malik - 84; 3. Anisha Padukone - 85

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