Pune, Jan 16: Golfer Diksha Dagar opened her professional career in style with a one-under 70 that put her right on top of the leaderboard in the first leg of the Hero womens Pro Tour 2019 at the Poona Club Golf Course here on Wednesday.
Diksha has previously won a Hero WPG Tour event last year, but that was as an amateur.
The left-hander, who had a stellar amateur career, which included appearances at most global amateur events and also at the Asian Games, took the plunge into pro ranks just this week.
She landed four birdies against three bogeys and led Millie Saroha (72) by two shots. Amateur Pranavi Urs carded two-over 73 to be placed in 3rd position.
Diksha opened with a par and followed that up with a bogey. However, she soon composed herself and holed her first birdie as a pro.
A bogey on sixth and a birdie on eighth meant she turned in even par. She cruised through the first five holes of the back nine with pars, birdied the Par-4 15th and then landed another on 18th. In between she bogeyed the 17th.
Millie was looking solid for 15 holes and was two-under when she arrived at the 16th tee, but she bogeyed her last three holes and ended at one-over.
Amateur Pranavi, who recently won the Faldo Series India event, had a disappointing run in the middle of the round from eighth to 10th and dropped three shots. She also closed with a bogey. Her two birdies came on the Par- 4 fifth and par-4 14th.
Lying fourth was Neha Tripathi, who opened with three birdies in the first four holes, but suffered a triple bogey on Par-5 seventh and then had two more bogeys and a double between the 14th and 17th. She finished with a card of 74 and was disappointed to let go off a fine start.
Khushi Khanijau, Siddhi Kapoor and debutant Anousha Tripathi were tied-fifth with scores of 75 each, while Suchitra Ramesh (76) was eighth. Dolma Rawat, also making her pro debut, and the experienced Amandeep Drall were tied-ninth with rounds of 77 each.
Sifat Alag was disqualified in her first event, while Hita Prakash failed to make the cut after a round of 93.
In the second round, Komal Chaudhary and Mehar Atwal will tee off in the first 2-ball, followed by Ayesha Kapur and Smriti Mehra.
Sonam Chugh, Ananya Datar and Jyotsana Singh will make up the third group, with Afshan Fatima, Gursimar Badwal and Amandeep in the fourth. The fifth group will see Dolma, Suchitra and Anousha Tripathi, while Siddhi Kapoor, Khushi Khanijau and Neha will tee off in the penultimate group.
The lead group will comprise amateur Pranavi, Millie and Diksha.