Sharmila hits the front; eyes second title

Sharmila hits the front; eyes second title

Sharmila hits the front; eyes second title

Sharmila Nicollet produced a fine performance to prime herself for successive titles in the second leg of the Hero-WGAI Wom­en’s Pro Golf on Wednesday.

Sharmila, who won the opening leg last week in superb fashion after trailing by four shots overnight, stroked ahead of a jam-packed leaderboard with a fine two-under 68 to total 139 at the Clover Greens.

Nalini Singh Siwach matched Sharmila’s score of the day to climb to second spot at 141 while pace-setter Smriti Mehra’s fortunes continued to fluctuate as she dropped down to third at 141 following a two-over 72.

After struggling to come to terms with the heavy wind in the opening round on Tuesday, Sharmila slowly found her groove. Making the best of her long-hitting prowess on the short course, the 21-year-old set herself up for plenty of birdie opportunities only to be let down by her shaky short game.

Following a sedate start where she parred the opening five holes, Sharmila picked up her first shot of the day with a 10-footer putt on the par-4 sixth.

Going smooth and steady, Sharmila kicked a gear up with back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th, both set up by her long hitting. She, however, undid her good work on the very next hole, three-putting from the fringe to drop her lone shot of the day.

“Putts weren’t falling today,” said Sharmila. “My driving and approaches was spot-on today. I just wanted to beat the course and I did it today. That’s what I want to do tomorrow too,” she added.

Smriti once again dished out a topsy-turvy show. The veteran had five birdies but three bogeys and two double bogeys ruined her card.

Leading scores (after 36 holes, ‘A’ denotes amateur): 139: Sharmila Nicollet (71, 68); 140: Nalini Singh Siwach (72, 68); 141: Smriti Mehra (69, 72); 143: Neha Tripathi (71, 72); 147: Ankita Kedlaya (A) (75, 72); 148: Shraddhanjali Singh (74, 74), Saaniya Sharma (71, 77); 150: Suchitra Ramesh (A) (75, 75); 151: Ankita Tiwana (78, 73), Meghna Bal (71. 80).