Bangalore: Neha Tripathi zoomed into a two-shot lead to get off to a great start with a four-under 66 in the first round of the third leg of the Hero Women`s Professional Golf tour on Tuesday.
Tripathi, the winner of the first leg, led by two over Nalini Singh Siwach (68) and by three over amateur Aditi Ashok (69).
The favourites of the tournament, Smriti Mehra (71) was lying fourth, while Sharmila Nicollet and Rani Sonti were tied fifth with 76 each.
Neha had five birdies, three on the front nine to turn in 33 and on the back stretch she had two more birdies on 11th and 17th and her lone blemish of the day came on the par-4 15th.
"Today`s round was something I had planned since yesterday. Right now there are two more rounds to go and I want to focus on that. But yes, this is surely a strong start and I must build on it," said Neha.
Nalini had three birdies and one bogey in her 68 in second position. Amateur Aditi Ashok, who lost the first leg of the Tour to Neha in a play-off, also had five birdies. But the 13-year-old Bangalore girl also dropped two bogeys and carded 68.
Smriti Mehra, winner of the second leg with five birdies on last five holes on the final day, had two birdies and three bogeys, while Sharmila also had two birdies but dropped three bogeys and two doubles in her 76.
Smriti, Sharmila and Rani Sonti are in the same group, while Neha and Nalini are paired together with Aditi Ashok in the lead group for second round tomorrow.