Amateur Aditi hogs limelight

Bangalorean tied first following a fine 69

Talented amateur Aditi Ashok stole the limelight in the opening round of the Hero Women’s Indian Open, sharing the lead with two veterans from the Ladies European Tour, Becky Brewerton and Stefania Croce, here on Friday.

Bangalorean Aditi, whose only two previous competitive rounds at the DLF Golf and Country Club came last year when she carded eight and five over respestively to exit early from the 2011 Indian Open, was in a mood to banish those memories carding a brilliant three-under 69 -- the same as Brewerton and Croce. The three were one shot ahead of six others.

Two other Indian challengers, Sharmila Nicollet and Nalini Singh Siwach, had contrasting rounds but identical scores of one-over 73 each. Sharmila, the best Indian last year at tied 22nd, had two birdies and an eagle against five bogeys while Nalini posted one birdie and two bogeys to share the 25th spot.

Vani Kapoor (75) was tied 39th, while amateurs Gurbani Singh, Millie Saroha and Raksha Phadke carded 76 each to be tied 47th. Veteran Smriti Mehra had a horrendous outing, carding 10-over 82 that left on the brink of missing the cut.

“I gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities,” said a delighted Aditi, who sank five birdies agianst two bogeys. “My approach shots were also good today. I am happy to be there on top along with such experienced pros but I am not going to get ahead of myself. I know things can change very quickly.”

A 10th tee starter, Aditi got off to a bad start when a poor drive cost her a shot straightaway, However, she quickly put the disappointment behind, sinking a six-footer for birdie on the 11th and going two-under with another six-footer birdie on the 13th.

On the 16th, she holed out a huge 50-footer for birdie before picking up her fourth birdie on the second hole. She bogeyed the fifth but jumped into joint lead with a birdie on the eighth hole.

Leading scores (after 18 holes, ‘A’ denotes amateur): 69: Becky Brewerton (Wales), Stefania Croce (Italy), Aditi Ashok (A); 70: Stacey Keating (Australia), Bree Arthur (Australia), Liebelei Lawrence (Luxembourg), Florentyna Parker (England), Becky Morgan (Wales); 71: Celine Palomar (Fra), Nontaya Srisawang (Tha), Tania Elosegui (Esp), Walailak Satark (US), Laura Davies (Eng), Stacy Lee Bregman (Zaf).

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