Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour: Smriti Mehra takes two-shot lead

Smriti Mehra had three birdies against three bogeys in her even-par 72 at the Noida Golf Club.

File Photo: Smriti Mehra (in picture) leads Ridhima Dilawari (74) and Millie Saroha (74) by two strokes.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Despite a last-hole bogey, Smriti Mehra managed to hold a two-shot lead after the opening round of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour (17th leg) here on Wednesday. Smriti had three birdies against three bogeys in her even-par 72 at the Noida Golf club.

Smriti, who is still looking for her first win of the year, had a birdie on the fourth, but she gave that back on the sixth and fell to one-over at the turn with a bogey on Par-4 ninth. On the back nine, she recovered to red numbers as she birdied the 11th and 14th to get to one-under. However, right at the end on the 18th, she dropped a shot to get back to even par.

Tvesa Malik falters

Tvesa Malik ended the day with a series of six pars and a card of 78. File Photo: Shreedutta Chidananda

Smriti led Ridhima Dilawari (74) and Millie Saroha (74) by two strokes; Amandeep Drall was two shots further down at 76, along with Neha Tripathi and Gursimar Badwal. Tvesa Malik, the leader on the Order of Merit and winner of four events this year, had a terrible run between the sixth and the 12th, as she dropped four bogeys and a double bogey in the stretch and ended the day with a series of six pars and a card of 78. She is six shots behind Smriti.

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Ridhima Dilawari was three-over by the seventh, but birdies on eighth and 10th saw her fight back before she dropped another shot on 11th. With seven pars on the last seven holes, she carded 74. Millie bogeyed four in a row from second to fifth, but came back with birdies on sixth and 10th. She parred the rest for her 74.

Amateur Diksha Dagar, who has a win on the pro-circuit against her name, and two others — Afshan Fatima and Siddhi Kapoor — shot 77 each to be tied-seventh. Tvesa was 10th.

In the second round on Thursday, Komal Chaudhary plays with Khushi Khanijau and Saaniya Sharma; Vaishavi Sinha plays with Mehar Atwal and Tvesa. In the third group, Siddhi Kapoor, amateur Diksha Dagar and Afshan Fatima will play together; the penultimate threesome comprises Gursimar Badwal, Neha Tripathi and Amandeep Drall.

Millie Saroha, Ridhima Dilawari and Smriti Mehra form the leader group.