Gaurika Bishnoi, looking for back-to-back wins and Rhea Jha, looking for a maiden win on the Hero Women's Pro Golf Tour, were tied for the lead after the first round of the seventh leg of the 2023 season at the DLF Golf & Country Club here on Tuesday.
Gaurika, 24, and Rhea, 20, shot 1-under 71 each and were the only ones to shoot under par for the day. The experienced Vani Kapoor, playing on her home course, carded even par 72.
Ridhima Dilawari, coming back after a fruitful season on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in South Africa, and amateur Vidhatri Urs, who is part of the Indian national amateur team, were tied for fourth place with 73 each, while Tvesa Malik and Amandeep Drall, both of whom have a lot of experience and wins on the Hero WPGT, were tied for sixth place with rounds of 74 each.
The challenging Gary Player-design layout saw every player in the Top 10 barring amateur Vidhatri, drop at least one double bogey or worse in the round. Vidhatri had three birdies and four bogeys.
Rhea, who plays most of her golf in Gurugram and trains under Deepinder Khullar at the DLF Golf and Country Club, seemed at home as she carded two birdies in the first four holes. A double bogey on the demanding ninth hole meant she was back to even par. On the back nine, she birdied 10th and 13th but dropped a shot on 12th for a day's work of 71.
Gaurika opened with two birdie but then slipped with a bogey on the par-4 sixth and a double bogey on the par-5 eighth. She turned in one-over 37. On the back nine, she displayed good form again with three birdies - on the 11th, 12th and 15th, but a late bogey on Par-4 17th saw her end the day at 71.
Vani Kapoor also had two birdies on the front nine and three on the back nine, but she suffered a triple bogey on Par-4 seventh, a hole which saw a lot of well-known players dropping shots. Vani, who had a Top-10 finish on the same course at the Hero Women's Indian Open last year, bogeyed on the 12th and then again on the closing hole, the 18th.
Amandeep Drall, who also has good memories of the course where she came close to her maiden Ladies European Tour title at the Women's Indian Open last year, had two birdies, one bogey and one double bogey in her 74.
Tvesa Malik, who lost a playoff on the third extra hole last week to Gaurika Bishnoi, had two birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey in her card of 74.
Agrima Manral and Asmitha Sathish are tied for eighth with rounds of 75 each, while Seher Atwal and Rhea Purvi Saravanan were tied for 10th with rounds of 76 each.
( 495 Words)