Amateur Aditi Ashok continued her stellar season, emerging as the best-placed Indian at tied 19th after carding three-over 75 on the opening day of the Hero Women’s Indian Open at the Black Knight Course at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon. (Read More in Golf)

The 17-year-old, who co-led the field after the first round in 2012 and finished eighth, was also 13th last year. Today she was one-under at the turn and then one-over when she came to the 18th.

“I tried to go over the water and messed up and lost the ball. I three-putted from 70 feet for a costly double,” said a smiling Aditi.

“Overall I enjoyed the course. It was challenging but the greens are not as fast as they look. But the pin positions are tough.”

Smriti Mehra one of the three players yet to finish was four-over with three holes to go. She will come back to finish her round in the morning.

Among other Indians, Amandeep Drall (77) was tied 37th, Sharmila Nicollet with her 78 was tied 47th, as was Gursimar Badwal. Tanya Wadhwa, Vani Kapoor and Saaniya Sharma shot 79 each.

At the top, rookie Emily Kristine Pedersen from Denmark, playing in the second last group, beat fading light to birdie her final hole on the ninth and take lead.

Pedersen, who has twice finished second on the LET this season, lost the Lacoste Ladies Open de France last month on the third play-off hole.

At two-under 70 she held a one shot lead as only three players carded under par rounds.

Sergas, whose Indian connection includes a love for Indian cooking and early coaching by Donata di Ponziano, who has visited India often in the past two decades, carded 71 and shared the second place with Thai Saraporn Chamchoi, who was taught golf early in her career by Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee. Saraporn was third at the 2013 Hero Indian Open.

The 19-year-old Pedersen was happy with her result and said, “I’m very happy with finishing minus two. I had a rough start, starting with hitting one in the bushes and made a four by making a chip. I didn’t hit many greens on the first nine holes and really had to fight for my par, which I did well. On the second nine I hit nine greens and only missed one fairway. I was two under on the back nine, so very satisfied.”

Pedersen, also seventh at Turkish ladies and eighth at Scottish Open, added, “I think it’s one of the most challenging courses this year because there are so many narrow places that you need to place the ball well all the time and the greens are very tough as well.”

Sergas, on the LPGA since 2002, said, “It wasn’t a tough day but it was a tough course. There was no wind so it could have been even tougher. Hopefully no wind, no rain and a perfect day – let’s make it as easy as we can.”

Sergas, who loves snowboarding, sky diving and skiing, broke her ankle and was out of action for two months till August.

Sergas claims she was always keen on coming to India and learnt Indian cooking on Internet. “It’s my first time to India. I love Indian food: papadoms and naan bread, everything and I want to explore India but without the golf bag.”

Minea Blomqvist, who is married to European Tour pro, Roope Kakko, who won Madeira Islands in August, and Sophia Popov, carded even par 72 to be tied fourth.

Defending champion, Gwladys Nocera, who was one-over after 12 holes, dropped three shots in three holes including a double on par-4 sixth.



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