Vani Kapoor spearheaded the local challenge with a fine performance on the opening day of the 11th Hero Womens Indian Open at the DLF Golf and Country Club here on Friday.
Vani is playing her seventh Women's Indian Open, but fifth as a pro. She used her knowledge of the course well to come back from being two-over after five holes to finish with 69. She had six birdies against three bogeys and she was placed at the joint fourth spot with five others.
Vani was two shots behind leader Marianne Skarpnord of Norway, who also had six birdies, but only one bogey, the result of a three-putt on fifth.
Sharing the second place were Camille Chevalier and England's Liz Young, who shot four-under 68 each. Chevalier had five birdies against one bogey, while Young had six birdies against two bogeys.
Vani was tied fourth with Meghan MacLaren, Klara Spilkova, Olivia Cowan, Karolin Lampert and Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul.
Just behind them, giving the Indian challenge a bigger boost were defending champion Aditi Ashok (70) and Gaurika Bishnoi, who is also the Order of Merit leader on the local Hero Women's Pro Golf Tour.
Skarpnord's 67 also equaled the course record. Thailand's Kongkraphan Patcharajutar had a 67 in the second round in 2015.
The tight leaderboard had as many 18 players shooting 70 or under and were within three shots of the lead.
" The experience of travelling has been good. I played at this course two weeks ago and won on the domestic Tour, but then went to Abu Dhabi after that. I came back and played nine holes on Tuesday and Wednesday and the Pro-Am on Thursday. I know this course well, so that was fine," Vani said.
"I'm pretty satisfied because I had a dodgy start and I was two-over after five holes. I was really tense but then I had a birdie on the sixth and then again on the seventh and the ninth. I found my momentum there," she added.
"On the back nine, I managed to keep it going and not think about anything else. I had some good putts, one of which was from almost off the green, about 30 feet and then some other long ones like the 18th, where it was 20 feet."
Among other Indians, Saaniya Sharma (73) was at tied 41st and Gursimar Badwal (74) was at joint 54.
Three other well-known Indian players Amandeep Drall (77), Smriti Mehra (78) and Sharmila Nicollet (79) had a disappointing first day.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)