Bangalore: It was happy homecoming for Sharmila Nicollet, as she shot a one-under 71 in her first tournament in India in more than six months. The only sub-par card of the day gave the 21-year-old Sharmila a two-shot lead in the Rs. 10 lakh Hero-KGA Women’s Pro Golf event, the first leg of the 2012 season on the Hero-WGAI Tour.
Sharmila was two clear of Neha Tripathi (73) and Saaniya Sharma (73) and three ahead of Nalini Singh Siwach (74) and local amateur Aditi Ashok (74). Vani Kapoor (75) making her debut as a professional went into the water on the first hole but still finished the day with an impressive 75 to lie sixth. Seasoned Smriti Mehra had a tough day with a five-over 77.
KGA, who are partnering Hero and WGAI for the event, can be very happy with the course as it was both interesting and challenging for players and the weather was excellent through the day.
Sharmila, who last played on the domestic Tour late last year, has been on the Ladies European Tour (LET) since. “I played well and hit the ball well and am happy overall with the game,” said Sharmila. “I want to do well and get back my confidence before I go for more events in Asia and Europe. I know there is room for improvement.”
Sharmila, who won twice in the 10 events she played on the domestic Tour last season, had four birdies and three bogeys. “The good thing is the 71 came despite three bogeys on par-fives, which is usually my strength. All my bogeys came on par-fives and that really is unusual, because I can reach most of these par-fives in two (shots). But it also means I can look forward to doing better tomorrow,” she added picking the positives from the first round. Sharmila was the only player to bogey three par-fives.
Neha Tripathi, who won the season-opener last year, had a great day with five birdies – the most by any player on the first day – but she also gave away six bogeys in her card of 73. “I missed a lot of short putts and I had a three-putt from about six feet on the ninth. From a birdie I went to bogey there and that hurt. But I must admit I am happy with my hitting and it was a good round, but for some patchy putting.” The bad patch for Neha came from the sixth to ninth, when she bogeyed four in a row. She had birdies on first, second, 10th, 11th and 16th.
Saaniya, who also had one win last season, had three birdies and four bogeys. She had three birdies, all on back nine, and four bogeys, of which three were on back nine. “I hit the ball well and from that point I am happy with my game and I don’t want to think negative,” said Chandigarh-girl Saaniya.
Debutant Vani Kapoor had a nervous start, finding water on the very first hole. “I must admit I was nervous, but things got better as the round progressed. I was three-over for the front nine and even for the back nine. Actually I kept missing on the wrong side of the greens and therefore I could not chip-putt to save myself when I missed greens. The pins were challenging but I should have done better,” said Vani.
Amateur Aditi, who won an event on pro tour last year, shot 74 with two birdies and four bogeys. She was all over the course, but her amazing putting saved the day. She found just three greens in regulation, but needed only 23 putts.
By Indian Sports News Network