Three-way lead at top at Hero Women`s Pro Golf

Bangalore: On a day of low scores, Nalini Singh Siwach, amateur Aditi Ashok and seasoned Smriti Mehra shared the lead at two-under 138 at the end of the second round of the third leg of the Hero Women`s Professional Golf Tour on Wednesday.

Despite setting a new record, Sharmila Nicollet, however, fell three shots off the lead, while yesterday`s leader Neha Tripathi also slipped to fourth position.

Smriti, winner last week, found her touch again with a fine 67 that combined with her first round 71 to give her a share in the three-way lead with Nalini (70) and Aditi (69).

Neha with 139 is at fourth, Sharmila is fifth at 141, and Rani Sonti (73) and Saaniya Sharma (71) were sixth at 149.

Sharmila though erased one day old course record at the Clover Greens, she fell three shots off the lead. She shot a superb five-under 65 to beat the record set by overnight leader Neha of Kolkata by one shot.

Neha, on her part, also did not have a great day even as three others took the lead.

Smriti had four birdies, two of them on par-3s and she had only one bogey for 67, while Delhi`s Nalini, who had one birdie against two bogeys on the front nine, closed with an excellent birdie-birdie finish for a 70.

Aditi continued her great run this season. 13-year-old amateur, who lost a play-off in first leg, carded a second straight 69 and is the only player with both rounds under par. She was two-over after 10 holes, but she fought back with birdies on 11th, 12th and 17th to come under par and get into a share of the lead.

Aditi has been showing great promise and has held her own against the top pros in the country.

Sharmila was in great form. She had three birdies on the front nine on second, fifth and seventh, followed by three more on 10th, 12th and 13th to be six-under through 13 holes. But she made her first mistake with a bogey on 14th following a three-putt before she got back that stroke with her seventh birdie of the day on 17th.

A disappointing three-putt again for a bogey on 18th saw her finish at 65 but she gave ample warning that she was back on the prowl.

Winner of the Order of Merit last season -- Sharmila -- who is still looking for her first win this season, found the short course to her advantage.

"It is a short course so I can drive long and get an edge but the fairways are narrow and it is windy. Today I hit it well and putted fine but twice I three-putted for bogeys after being six-under after 13 holes," she said.

On the final day`s plan, Sharmila revealed, "Today I played without pressure and some changes I have made are working. Tomorrow again I will do just that and hopefully I can make up the gap (three shots)."


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