Sharmila in huge lead

Sharmila in huge lead

 Saaniya Sharma tees off in the second round of the Women’s Professional Golf Tour event at the KGA on Wednesday. DH photo

Less than week after her massive 14-stroke title triumph at the Eagleton Golf Resort, the gifted teenager primed herself for another huge win after carding a superb second-round one-under 71 for a tournament total of one-over 145 on perfect conditions for golf at the KGA course.

In what could be termed as total domination — the 19-year-old hasn’t lost pace since the first round of the opening leg — Sharmila now holds a massive 13-stroke lead over her rivals with a round to play. Nikita Arjun (78), an amateur who also impressed in the previous leg at Eagleton, is tied for second place with three pros, Saaniya Sharma (78), Nitika Jadeja (79) and Nalini Singh Siwach (80) at 158. Elated on holding on to such a strong lead, Sharmila said it now gives her the confidence to play aggressively. “It’s very important to play well on the second round and open a sizeable lead. ”

Sharmila’s performance on the day revealed the huge gulf in class between the Bangalore lass and her competitors. While the rest of the field failed to come up with ideas to tame a demanding course, Sharmila was in a league of her own, driving the ball wonderfully and mostly finding the desired places. The slight disppointment being short game when she was unable to control the pace.

Sharmila looked in complete control in the morning. Determined and focussed as ever, she straight away picked up strokes on the first and third before missing out on an albatross on the par-5 third. On to the green with her second shot, the ball ricocheted of the flag pole and kicked six-feet uphill. Unable to control the speed on the downhill, Sharmila missed an eagle chance before birdieing it.

The disappointment got to her in the very next hole which she bogeyed before dropping another stroke at the turn. A remarkable eight-foot birdie putt drew applause from the sparse gathering. Only a monumental collapse stands between her and title on Thursday. But it looks improbable considering her touch.

Leading scores: 145: Sharmila Nicollet (74, 71); 158: Nikita Arjun (80, 78), Saaniya Sharma (80, 78), Nitika Jadeja (79, 79), Nalini Singh Siwach (78, 80); 159: Pallavi Jain (79, 80), Rani Sonti (78, 81); Amateurs: 158: Nikita Arjun; 169: Tvesa Malik (83, 86) ; 172: Anisha Padukone.

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