Tvesa Malik starts strong, lies fifth in South Africa

Tvesa, who is opening her 2021 Ladies European Tour season this week, shot three birdies against three bogeys to finish at even-par 72.

Malik had a good season in 2020 as he negotiated her way through COVID-19 tests and tense flights to Europe.   -  GETTY IMAGES

India's Tvesa Malik made a good start before dropping two bogeys to finish at even-par 72 and lie tied fifth after the first round of the Investec South African Women's Open golf tournament here.

Tvesa had a share of the lead for some part of the day before faltering at the Westlake Golf Club.

Tvesa, who is opening her 2021 Ladies European Tour season this week, shot three birdies against three bogeys and trailed home star, Lee-Anne Pace and Welsh Lydia Hall, who carded two-under 70 each on the opening day.

READ: British Masters: Shubhankar Sharma, Ajeetesh Sandhu off to disappointing starts

Tvesa is hoping to emulate fellow Indian, Diksha Dagar, who is recovering from a bad back and is not playing this week.

Dagar won the event in 2019 for her maiden success on LET and Tvesa hopes to do the same.

Getting to South Africa via Dubai, where she was training for some time, Tvesa birdied third, seventh and 12th and dropped shots on eighth, 14th and 16th.

"The greens are firm and the rough is up around the greens, so you have to be precise. Otherwise the course is playing true," said Tvesa.

"I may have left a couple of shots, but the scoring has been difficult." Only four players shot under par. Tvesa's best on LET has been T-6 at Hero Women's Indian Open in 2019 and T-10 at Open de France in 2020.

Pace, a three-time SA Women’s Open champion, who won the LET Order of Merit in 2010, fired a two-under-par 70 to sit alongside Hall as the early clubhouse leaders. They held onto their one-stroke advantage over South African duo Tandi McCallum and Nicole Garcia.

Pace recorded a bogey on the 12th hole but bounced straight back with a birdie at the next to remain at level-par before making an eagle on the par-five seventh.

Nine players sit a shot further back on one-over-par, including former LET tournament winners Jenny Haglund and Christine Wolf, France's Agathe Sauzon and Camille Chevalier, Germany’s Leonie Harm and Karolin Lampert, Slovenia's Pia Babnik, Spain's Elia Folch and Switzerland's Kim Metraux.

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