Indian Open: Emily seizes clubhouse lead on Day 1; Aditi best among Indians

Aditi Ashok Day 1 leadGurgaon: Denmark’s rookie Emily Kristine Pederson carded a very respectable 2 under 70 on the ‘Black Knight’ Course at the DLF Golf and Country Club in the evening session to grab the clubhouse lead in the first round of the $400,000 Hero Women’s Indian Open, 2015 here on Friday.

Emily carded a birdie on the last hole to establish a one-stroke lead over Thai Saraporn Chamchoi and Italian Giulia Sergas, who shot one-under 71 each, while Finland’s Minea Blomqvist and German Sophia Popov were tied fourth with an even-par 72.

The last group comprising of India’s Smriti Mehra and amateur Sehar Atwal along with England’s Georgina Simpson couldn’t complete their round due to fading light. They will continue from where they left off on Saturday morning.

Golfers generally struggled to come to terms with the tricky course, with only five of them registering under or even-par scores. Amateur Aditi Ashok finished the best amongst the Indians with a three-over 75 for tied 19th place with defending champion Frenchwoman Gwladys Nocera. Amandeep Drall’s five-over 77 saw her finish the day at tied 37th position with several others, notable amongst them USA’s Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger Woods. English star player Melissa Reid is placed at tied 27th spot with a score of 4 over 76.

Hero MotoCorp-sponsored Sharmila Nicollet and Gursimar Badwal shot six-over 78 in testing conditions to be placed at 47th position. Sharmila, who is aiming to play the LET Q-School this year, said, “It was a tough day. I made a lot of putts and came back but I think I missed more. The first day in a tournament is basically to test waters and tomorrow I want to be aggressive. I I think I made mistakes with my driving strategy. My putting was decent but I will be more aggressive on my chipping.” Vani Kapoor and Tanya Wadhwa were far from their best and shot seven-over 79 for tied 59th spot on the opening day.

Emily has had a fantastic track record in amateur golf as she won the 2013 European Amateur Championships and the 2014 British Amateur Championships before turning pro earlier this year. The 19-year-old wants to carry her early success into her professional career as well, where she is aiming for a top-10 finish on the Ladies European Tour this season and the title of the Rookie Player of the Year.

A High School student, Emily who started her campaign today from the 10th hole, carded four birdies against two bogeys and said, “I started off very up and down. My chipping and short game was really good. I started off very up and down did not hit many greens on the front nine. I made birdies on 16th, 18th, sixth and ninth. It is one of the toughest courses I have played, back nine is tougher and you have to play carefully every shot. My putting and short game was good today as it kept me in the game. I am expecting to win the Rookie Player of the Year award.”

Aditi, who has won three prestigious international titles this year, started off on a high note and maintained her place in the top-3 on the front nine after carding a birdie on the eight. She fumbled on the back nine with bogeys on the 10th and 11th contributing to her slide down the leaderboard. She could have finished much higher but for her second shot on the 18th finding the water.

Aditi said, “I was one-under after nine holes and bogeyed 10th and 11th. I three-putted the 10th and hit a poor approach shot on 11th. I made a double on 18th after my second shot sank into water hazard. This course is different and I am playing here for the first time. This is one of the most undulating courses. The greens are tricky and you have to think a lot before taking approach shots.” 

“I had a good finish last year, but there is no particular target for this year. My putting wasn’t as good as it should have been and I had 34 putts, it will be the area I want to focus on tomorrow. I have a morning tee off tomorrow, I want to hit more greens.”