Jaipur, Nov 25 (IANS) Delhi’s Vani Kapoor carded one under 70, the best score of Wednesday, to grab the lead on Day 1 of the 18th and season’s final leg of the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour at the Rambagh Golf Club here. Trailing her in the second position by a margin of two strokes is Ankita Tiwana at the Rs.5 lakh event which will conclude on Friday. Order of Merit leader Vani started the quest for her sixth title of the season aggressively. She carded three birdies on the first, fifth and eighth holes while dropping two shots on the third and seventh in her front nine. She began her back nine with a bogey on the 10th that erased her advantage, but two more birdies on the 15th and 17th helped her to regain the initiative. She could have ended with a better score but for a bogey on the 18th. Her tally of five birdies was maximum by any player on the day. Delhi’s Ankita returned a card of one-over 72 to finish second. She played cautiously in her front nine, dropping just two shots on the third and fourth while carding a birdie on the fifth. She made no more mistakes during the course of the day and played an even-par back nine. Ankita won her maiden title in Srinagar last year and will be eager to make the most of a good start by claiming the final event of the year.

Pune’s Shweta Galande carded three over 74 to take third. She began with bogeys on the third, fifth and seventh, but two consecutive birdies on the eighth and ninth helped her to repair the damage. She could not keep the momentum going in her back nine, dropping shots on the 10th, 13th and 14th as against a lone birdie on the 15th. Kolkata’s Smriti Mehra, Jaipur’s Afshan Fatima and Panchkula’s Amandeep Drall returned with identical scores of four over 75 to be tied fourth. Smriti had an eventful front nine with three birdies on the fourth, fifth and eighth holes along with four bogeys on the first, third, sixth and ninth. She faltered on her return journey with a flurry of four bogeys on the 10th, 11th, 12th and 16th with just a lone birdie on the 15th. Local favourite Afshan played erratically, her round consisting of two birdies on the eighth and ninth holes as against four bogies on the third, seventh, 11th and 18th and also a double on the first. Amandeep played a birdie-less round with four bogeys on the first, second, third and seventh. Kapurthala’s Gursimar Badwal and English woman Kiran Matharu ended with identical scores of six over 77 to finish tied seventh followed by Kolkata’s Neha Tripathi and Delhi’s Ayesha Kapur in tied ninth with identical scores of 9 over 80.

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