Sharmila finishes with hat-trick of birdies, shares lead with Nalini

NOIDA: Three birdies in her last three holes saw Sharmila Nicollet get into a share of the lead with Nalini Singh Siwach as both shot two-under 70 in the first round of the 12th leg f the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour. Veteran Smriti Mehra lurked just one shot behind them at 71.

Japan’s Mika Ikemura playing for the first time on an Indian domestic Tour event shot 73 and was placed fourth, one shot ahead of Meghna Bal (74) and Neha Tripathi was lying sixth at 76.

Sharmila had a slow beginning with one birdie on the par-5 third hole, but she bogeyed the fourth and seventh to turn in one-over. On the back nine she birdied the 11th to come to even par but again dropped a shot on par-5 13th. Then she had a grandstand finish with three birdies in a row from16th to 18th and ended the day at 70.

Nalini had a bogeyfree opening nine with two birdies and rest pars. On the back nine she gave away a shot on 10th, but quickly got it back on 13th and added yet another birdie on 15th to go to three-under. But she lost the chance to be in sole lead as she bogeyed the 18th and ended at 70.

Smriti opened with a double bogey on first and had another bogey on fourth to be three-over at that stage. She recovered very well with birdies on fifth, sixth and 17th and had no further bogeys.

Shraddhanjali Singh (77) and Seiko Miyata, the second Japanese player in the field, with 78 were seventh and eighth respectively.