Tiwana and Nicollet on top after day one

The pair shot an identical one-under-71 at Prestige Golfshire here on Wednesday to end up one shot ahead of Mehar Atwal and Amandeep Drall.

Sharmila Nicollet, who like Tiwana is looking for her first win on the Tour this season, made important gains on the back nine, picking up three shots on the last six holes to surge to the front.   -  K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Ankita Tiwana and Sharmila Nicollet emerged surprise leaders on the opening day of Leg 11 of the Hero Women's Pro Golf Tour. The pair shot an identical one-under-71 at Prestige Golfshire here on Wednesday to end up one shot ahead of Mehar Atwal and Amandeep Drall. Neha Tripathi (73) was in fifth, with the trio of Vani Kapoor, Nikki Ponappa, and Trisha Sunil (all 74) tied for sixth.

Tiwana, who last week finished in 11th place at KGA, 21 shots adrift of the winner, Drall, began Leg 11 on a better note, making three birdies and two bogeys. Nicollet, who like Tiwana is looking for her first win on the Tour this season, made important gains on the back nine, picking up three shots on the last six holes to surge to the front.

Vani, who has been a cut above the rest this season, endured a difficult day by her standards.

The scores (top six after round one): 71: Ankita Tiwana, Sharmila Nicollet; 72: Mehar Atwal, Amandeep Drall; 73: Neha Tripathi; 74: Vani Kapoor, Nikki Ponappa, Trisha Sunil.