Ridhima shoots superb 66 to take 2-shot lead over amateur Asmitha

On a day when the leaders scored low, Ridhima’s 66 had seven birdies, four of them in the front nine, three bogeys and an eagle on the par-5 13th.

Ridhima Dilawari’s 66 had seven birdies, four of them in the front nine, three bogeys and an eagle on the par-5 13th.   -  Getty Images

Ridhima Dilawari had an eventful back nine that included an eagle, three birdies and three bogeys between the 11th and 17th holes, carding a superb six-under 66 in the first round of Women’s Pro Golf Tour on Wednesday.

On a day when the leaders scored low, Ridhima’s 66 had seven birdies, four of them in the front nine, three bogeys and an eagle on the par-5 13th.

That gave her a handy two-shot lead over amateur Asmitha Sathish, who impressed with her four-under 68 that included five birdies and a bogey.

Last week’s winner, Gaurika Bishnoi had just two birdies and missed many more, but like Ridhima, she too had an eagle on the Par-5 13th, besides bogeys on second and 12th holes as she shot two-under 70.

Amateur Anika Varma and Anisha Padukone were tied for fourth position at one-under 71, as five players brought home under par scores on a rather good day.

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Amandeep Drall (73) was sixth, while Siddhi Kapoor and Afshan Fatima carded 74 each to be Tied-seventh, as amateur Nayanika Sanga and rookies Ananya Datar and Anousha Tripathi shot 75 each.

Some of the experienced stars like Neha Tripathi (77), Gursimar Badwal (81) and Smriti Mehra (83) had a very rough day. Vandana Agarwal withdrew because of medical reasons after shooting 86 in the first round.

Ridhima, who already has a win this season, was in excellent form as she birdied first, sixth, eighth and ninth holes to make the turn in four-under. But she suffered a lapse on the back nine as she bogeyed back-to-back holes on 11th and 12th.

However, she recovered superbly with an eagle on Par-5 13th, but that was followed by a bogey on 14th. Yet again, she recovered quickly and played aggressively to land three birdies in a row from 15th to 17th to finish strongly at 66.

Asmitha, who reached the quarterfinals of All India Ladies Amateur last year, birdied second and fifth and parred the rest to reach the turn in two-under.

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She added birdies on 11th and 13th to get to four-under before making her first and only blemish of the day with a bogey on Par-3 16th, which yielded only two birdies for the round. She finished with a birdie to make up for that lapse for an aggregate of 68.

Gaurika, always steady in her play, showed the same character with one bogey on second and a birdie on sixth on the front nine. She gave away a shot on 12th, but shot an eagle on 13th. A birdie on 15th and pars on the rest gave her a 70, as she was four behind the leader Ridhima, and two behind second placed Asmitha.

A heartening feature of the day was that two amateurs, Asmitha Sathish and Anika Varma, shot under-par scores indicating their potential. Anika may well have been under 70 but for two late bogeys on 16th and 17th.

Anisha Padukone with 71, including four birdies and three bogeys, was the fifth player to shoot in red numbers.

Smriti Mehra, Tavleen Batra and Gursimar Badwal will tee off first on the second day, followed by Komal Chaudhary, Ayesha Kapur and Jyotsana Singh. The third group has Suchitra Ramesh, Mehar Atwal and Sifat Alag, while the fourth three-ball will feature Khushi Khanijau, Ishvari Prasanna and amateur Natalii Gupta.

Neha Tripathi, Anousha Tripathi and Ananya Datar make up the fifth group, while the sixth has amateur Nayanika Sanga, Afshan Fatima and Siddhi Kapoor.

Amandeep Drall, Anisha Padukone and amateur Anika Varma are in the penultimate group, to be followed by Gaurika Bishnoi, amateur Asmitha Sathish and Ridhima Dilawari in the lead group.

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