Daffinrud takes two-shot lead at Indian Open, Ridhima Tied-5th

India’s Ridhima Dilawari, playing only her second event as a professional, had a stunning finish with three birdies in the last four holes.

Ridhima Dilawari is Tied-5th with the 2011 champion, Swedish Caroline Hedwall and England’s Florentyna Parker, all of whom shot 69 each. (File Photo)   -  GETTY IMAGES

Norwegian Tonje Daffinrud from Norway shot the lowest-ever opening round on the Gary Player Course sine it opened in 2015, managing an impressive six-under-par 66 to take the clubhouse lead after the first round at the 12th Hero Women’s Indian Open at the DLF Golf and Country Club here on Thursday.

The 27-year-old had seven birdies in her round against a lone bogey, on the par-xxx fourth, and threw down the gauntlet with birdies on the last three holes. Having started on the back nine, Daffinrud managed to overcome the challenge of the daunting 17th as well for a birdie, the uphill par-4 hole surrounded by hazards.

“It’s a hole where you almost want to close your eyes while you play. I hit it close, to two metres, and made the putt. I lowered my shoulders after that and went for it,” Daffinrud admitted when asked about the 17th hole.

Fellow Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord, Austrian Christine Wolf and Thailand’s Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras were placed two behind, with Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall and England’s Florentyna Parker three-under. Among the Indians, Ridhima Dilawari, playing only her second professional tournament, was the best placed at joint-fifth on three-under, followed by Gaurika Bishnoi on one-under 71.

Defending champion Camille Chevalier managed a level-par first round of 72, to be placed joint 18th while home favourite and the most seasoned Indian pro, Vani Kapoor, was off-colour for a with a five-over 77.

Leading scores (Indian unless stated, A denotes amateur): 66 -- Tonje Daffinrud (Nor); 68 -- Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (Tha), Marianne Skarpnord (Nor), Christine Wolf (Aut); 69 -- Caroline Hedwall (Swe), Florentyna Parker (Eng), Ridhima Dilawari; 70 -- Silvia Banon (Esp), Beth Allen (USA), Johanna Gustavsson (Swe); 71 -- Gaurika Bishnoi, Olivia Cowan (Ger), Eleanor Givens (Eng), Yupaporn Kawinpakorn (Tha), Kelsey Macdonald (Sco), Sarah Schober (Aut), Rosie Davies (Eng); 72 -- Camille Chevalier (Fra), Felicity Johnson (Eng), Astrid Vayson De Pradenne (Fra), Celine Boutier (Fra), Noora Komulainen (Fin), Laura Fuenfstueck (Ger), Gabriella Cowley (Eng), Tvesa Malik, Holly Clyburn (Eng), Lina Boqvist (Swe), Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul (Tha), Sifat Sagoo (A), Afshan Fatima, Becky Morgan (Wal), Manon Molle (Fra), Charlotte Thompson (Eng), Emma Nilsson (Swe).