La Manga, Spain: Sharmila Nicollet shot one-under 70 and was one shot behind the leader on day two of the five-round Final Stage of the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School on Monday. The 20-year-old Indian, who took a surprising shared lead on day one, was composed despite two early bogeys, and brought in a fine round to be six-under for two days at the La Manga Club in Spain.
Sharmila is one shot behind England’s Jodi Ewart, who carded a superb four-under 67 on the par-71 North Course to move to a total of seven-under. Ewart was three-under 70 at South Course on first day.
Sharing the second place with Sharmila were two others, the experienced French amateur Alexandra Villate (69-69) and former LPGA player, American Heather Bowie Young (70 on North and 68 on South Course). In sole fourth place Dutch golfer, Marjet Van Der Graaf (71 on South and 68 on North Course) at five-under for two rounds.
There were two others in tied fifth at five-under and two others at tied seventh with four-under totals.
While Sharmila is trying to earn her way into the European tour for the first time, Ewart after trying LPGA qualifiers is now playing the LET Final stage. The 36-year-old seasoned Heather is a former LPGA winner in 2005 at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in 2005 and also played on the Solheim Cup team for the US in 2003.
When play began on Monday, Sharmila did not get flustered by bogeys on the second and fourth holes. She quickly found her rhythm with three birdies on the trot from fifth to seventh and turned in one-under at which stage she was the sole leader. She had two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine, as she dropped shots on 11th and 16th, but picked up birdies on the 15th and 17th. Ending the day one-under 70, she was six-under for 36 holes.
Sharmila, the only Indian in the Final Stage of the qualifying, was later joined by Alexandra Villate and Heather Bowie at six-under.
Dutch golfer Chrisje de Vries, the co-leader overnight fell behind as she shot seven-over 78.
On Sunday, Sharmila was off to a flying start with a round of five-under 68 at the South Course. The 20-year-old Sharmila had shared the lead with Chrisje de Vries, who carded five-under 66 at the par-71 North Course.
Sharmila had seven birdies and two bogeys for an opening 68 on the South Course while De Vries had four birdies, one bogey and an eagle two at the ninth hole in a 66 on the North Course.
Nicollet, 20, from Bengaluru, said that she felt confident after shooting her best score in Europe. “This is my first experience here in Spain and at the qualifiers. The whole of India is behind me. I am the only Indian to qualify so a lot of motivation and pressure got me through,” Nicollet said.
In first round Sharmila had a sensational start with three birdies on the trot after starting from the tenth tee. She added a fourth birdie on her fifth hole, the 14th of the course. Despite dropping a shot on 17th she turned in three-under. On her second nine, the front half of the course, Sharmila sank birdies on the fourth, sixth and eighth and dropped a shot on fifth to end the day at a stunning 68 on the tough course.
The 90-hole Final Qualifying School is being played over the resort’s two world-class courses, the North and the South, for the first four rounds with a cut to the leading 50 players and ties after 72 holes. The fifth round will be played on the South Course on Thursday and the top 30 players will earn LET Membership.