Golfer Gursimar Badwal continued from where she left off last week with a round of two-over 73 to take the sole lead after the opening round of the 11th leg of the Hero Womens Professional Golf Tour here on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old Kapurthala golfer, who is seeking a hat-trick of wins after winning both the legs in Bengaluru last month, was one shot clear of Amandeep Drall and Smriti Mehra, who shot 74 each at the Hyderabad Golf Association Club here.
The play on the first day was hit by bad weather and suspended for 85 minutes.
Gursimar, whose form was rather modest for the first eight legs of the Hero WPGT, during which her best was tied-3rd in Eagleton in the seventh leg in July, has been in excellent form since last month.
She won the ninth and 10th legs in Bengaluru and is now contending for a third straight title.
However on Wednesday, Gursimar got off to a poor start with three bogeys in a row from third to fifth, before she began the damage control. She recovered with a birdie on sixth and then over the next eight holes she further repaired her card with two birdies on 12th and 14th and the remaining were pars.
At even par through 14 holes, she seemed to be heading for a sub-par round before back-to-back bogeys set her back to two-over 73. Amandeep and Smriti also suffered setbacks on the tougher back nine.
Sonam Chugh and Siddhi Kapoor carded 75 each to be tied fourth, while Ayesha Kapur, Saaniya Sharma and Trisha Sunil shot 76 each to be tied sixth. Amateur Rhea P. Saravanan (78) and Afshan Fatima (79) completed the top-10.
Neha Tripathi and Suchitra Ramesh shot 80 each to be tied 11th, while Tavleen Batra (81) was 12th. Mehar Atwal had a bad day with a card of 91 and retired from the tournament.
On the second day, Gursimar will go out with Amandeep and Smriti in the lead group.