Gurgaon: Aditi Ashok, a 14-year-old amateur from Bangalore, stunned one and all with a terrific three-under 69 card for a three-way lead after the first round of the Hero Women's Indian Open, here on Friday.
Aditi shared honours with two veterans from the Ladies European Tour -- 30-year-old Becky Brewerton of Wales and 42-year-old Stefania Croce of Italy at the DLF Golf and Country Club.
Aditi, who last year had missed the cut here, sunk in five birdies against just two bogeys.
Two other Indian challengers, Sharmila Nicollet and Nalini Singh Siwach had contrasting rounds but identical scores of one-over 73 each.
Sharmila, the best Indian last year at tied 22nd, had two birdies and an eagle against five bogeys. "I gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities. I have a good short game and it went well today. My approach shots were also good today. I am happy to be there on top along with such experienced pros but I am not going to get ahead of myself. I know things can change very quickly," said Aditi. She had one monster birdie putt from 45-50 feet on the 16th and her other birdies included two 15-footers on second and eighth. She birdied the 11th and 13th from six feet. A bad drive on the 10th, her starting hole and a mis-hit to the left on fifth cost her the two bogeys.
Croce, 42, a pro since 1989 has just one win, while the 30-year-old Brewerton a pro since 2003, has three wins on the LET.
Croce, playing the course for the first time after recovering from a fever earlier in the week, breezed around with five birdies against two bogeys.
The highlight of Brewerton's round was an eagle on the par-5 sixth and she was five under par after 15 holes but then dropped two shots in her last three.
Croce was unsure whether she would tee up in the event owing to her sickness but pulled through with the help of a few aspirins from her roommate Veronica Zorzi among others.
"I was sick and I was in bed Monday, Tuesday, then Wednesday I came here and walked the course. This is my first time in India. I like it and I love the course. I think the greens are fast," she said.
Story first published on: Friday, 30 November 2012 20:50 IST