New Delhi: Vani Kapoor and amateur Gauri Monga kept the Indian hopes high as they shot one-over 73 each to end the first round in tied 13th position in the USD 300,000 Women's Indian Open 2013 in New Delhi on Thursday.
Thailand's Thidapa Suwannapura and French golfer Valentine Derrey stole the limelight with matching rounds of 66 for joint lead at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) with 21 other golfers.
Neha Tripathi, the winner of the Women's Pro Golf Tour order of merit list this season, is a stroke behind Vani and Gauri in tied 36th position, while Sharmila Nicollet, the only Indian to have a card on Ladies European Tour, wasn't in her best form and shot a three-over 75 for 47th place.
Amateurs -- Millie Saroha and Aditi Ashok -- managed a 76 each, while stalwart Smriti Mehra is a stroke behind them in tied 66th place with compatriots Ankita Tiwana, Rhea Nair and amateur Gursimar Badhwal.
Vani, winner of two events and second in the Hero order of merit on the Hero Women's Pro Golf tour, was off to a flying start as she made a birdie on the opening hole. She dropped her first shot on the sixth but recovered with a fine birdie on the seventh hole.
She set up six pars in a row before dropping her second bogey of the day on 14th. Vani, however, sank one more bogey on 16th, but she was satisfied with her overall performance.
"An even-par round would have been much better but it wasn't a bad round. I drove and putted well and used my driver a lot. I am seven strokes short of the joint leaders, but this is DGC, and anything can happen here in next two days. So, I am hopeful of better performance over the next two days," said Vani.
Gauri, who started from 10th tee, had a roller-coaster ride on the front nine with bogeys on 13th and 16th and a birdie on 14th. But on her back nine, the DGC amateur charged into contention with birdies on third, sixth and seventh to go two-under. She couldn't capitalise on the momentum and a nightmarish triple bogey on par-4 ninth hole forced her score an over-par round.
Playing with the LET sensations Charley Hull and Holly Clyburn, Indian star Sharmila started off on a positive note with a birdie on the fourth but bogeys on par 3s fifth and seventh holes and another on the ninth spoilt her chances. She recovered a bit on the back nine, but she was unfortunate not to find a single birdie thereafter. She dropped a shot on 14th before securing pars on next four holes.
"I didn't expect a three-over on the first day. I think I need more accuracy in next two rounds. I am not disappointed and will aim to recover," she said after the round.