Agadir, Morocco: Sharmila Nicollet made a fine start in her return to the Ladies European Tour after a long absence as she shot a one-under 70 to be tied 16th after the first round in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Agadir, Morocco on Friday.
Nicollet, who played in the calm morning, made good use of conditions and had four birdies against three bogeys, opened with a string of five pars, and birdied the sixth and ninth to turn in two-under.
She added a third birdie on 10th, but then dropped bogeys on 12th and 14th. She did pick a birdie on 17th but gave away that advantage with a bogey on 18th.
Nicollet, who missed a major part of 2013, played only seven events and missed the cut in five including Lalla Meryem Cup last year. But she was granted medical exemption this season and she is determined to make good use of that. One of the two cuts she made last year was a tied 44th at home in Indian Open and tied 17th in Turkish Open.
Another Indian Neha Tripathi struggled to a 6-over 77 with one bogey, one double, one triple bogey and no birdies.
England's Rebecca Hudson and Sophie Walker fired a pair of five-under-par 66s at Golf de l'Ocean here to share the first round lead.
Hudson birdied two of the last three holes to grab the lead on a becalmed morning while Walker teed off and finished in blustery conditions in the afternoon.
Playing in her first tournament of the season, Hudson reproduced the form that led to her winning four titles on the Ladies European Tour, including three in 2008.
Walker hit every fairway and made six birdies and one bogey. Sophie Giquel-Bettan, winner of the Ladies Open de Portugal in 2007, mixed six birdies with two bogeys to sit alone in third on four-under.
Giquel-Bettan's husband and occasional caddie Axel is on the bag for French European Tour rookie Gary Stal who is playing in Hassan Golf Trophy this week at nearby Golf du Palais Royal.
Ariya Jutanugarn, Jing Yan, Nina Holleder, Charley Hull and Laura Davies share fourth place on three-under-par.
Nobuhle Dlamini, Adriana Brent and Karolin Lampert were the best placed rookies on two-under-par.