Marrakech (Morocco): Sharmila Nicollet opened with a solid four-under 68 in the first round of the Final Qualifying at Lalla Aicha Tour School for the 2013 Ladies European Tour season and was placed tied fourth, but fellow Indian Smriti Mehra (74) was way behind.
Smriti, who could not practice in the run-up to the event because her clubs arrived only a day before the event, shot two over 74 and was down in tied 85th place.
Sweden`s Isabella Ramsay made the most of ideal scoring conditions carding seven-under 65 to take a one-shot lead in Group A, while Nikki Campbell, playing at the other course, Al Amelkis, was the top scorer in Group B with a six-under 66.
Sharmila, starting from the tenth, bogeyed her first hole, the tenth, but then steadied herself. That stayed as her only bogey of the day, as she recovered the shot on the very next hole. With birdies on 17 and 18, she turned in two-under.
Back-to-back birdies on fifth and sixth and pars through the rest of front nine saw her finish in four under 68.
Sharmila said, "It was a solid start. I was happy with it. I had five birdies and just one bogey, so it felt good to start like this. I have good memories of last year`s Qualifying School and I feel I am playing well."
Last year she began with a five-under round at a par-73 course in Spain and clinched the 30th spot on the LET Tour.
Smriti had three birdies, but she also bogeyed three times and double bogeyed the eighth.
She said, "My round was ok. Up and down a little bit, as I made three birdies and reached 15 greens in regulation. Regarding, putting, it was ok. I was not able to practice these past days because the Airline company lost my clubs and they arrived yesterday."
Smriti had missed the qualifying by two shots last year.
The 25-year-old Ramsay carded a seven-under par 65 at the Al Maaden Golf Resort, to finish a stroke ahead of Peruvian Maria Salinas and Australian Nikki Campbell.
First Published: Friday, December 14, 2012, 11:23