Hannah Jun of the United States made a great start when she seized the early lead with a four under par 68 in the Hero Women’s Indian Open on Thursday.
The 28-year-old Californian played her first nine holes over the back nine in level par on a hot a sunny morning at the venerable Delhi Golf Club.
However, she picked up four birdies in five holes from the second on her inward nine.
“There are a lot of tee shots which are pretty tight on that back side so once I got through the back, the front nine is pretty score-able in terms of aiming at pins and hitting fairways so I was a little more aggressive on the back and it worked out,” said Jun, whose career best finish from four seasons on the Ladies European Tour is a tie for second at the 2011 Ladies Scottish Open.
“The whole course is tight to be honest. I consider myself to hit it pretty straight so that’s a plus. I’m pleased with four under out here, I think it’s a great score and I’m going to build on that the next two days,” said Jun, making her second visit to India.
Ladies European Tour Rookie Charley Hull, the youngest professional in the field at 17, finished the morning one shot back after a fine three under par 69 containing four birdies.
She birdied the second, eighth and 12th before dropping a shot on 13 but recovered with a birdie on 17.
“I hit it pretty good. I didn’t hit it that well in the practice rounds and on the range it was the worst I’ve ever hit it in my life but I went out there and flushed it again so I’m feeling pretty happy with my game,” said Hull, hoping to clinch her first victory in India after five straight runner-up finishes at the start of the season.
“I was hitting my irons very good today. The second hole, I hit it good to the top pin and holed from 10 feet for birdie, the next hole I missed an eight-footer for birdie, the next hole I edged it with my chip.”
Hull said that her approach shots were excellent, but missed a lot of putts. “The fifth hole, I put my five iron to about eight feet and missed that as well. The next hole I put it to ten feet and missed that. The next was a really good up and down. I birdied the eighth which was a par five. I hit my wedge to five feet.
“I went on and had a couple of pars but could have birdied ten, then 12 and then I hit a loose shot on 13, hit it right into the trees and chipped out. Then I hit another one badly on the next hole, miles right into the trees but got up and down.
“All in all my game was pretty good. I made a birdie on 17, hit an iron shot to six feet but missed a seven-footer at the last so a bit disappointed about that. Overall I’m happy because three under on this course is good.”
Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson was the next best in the clubhouse on one under par after a 71 containing four birdies.
“I hit my irons great and putted decent. I am pleased because it’s not an easy course,” she said. “I was in the trees a couple of times and that’s an automatic bogey. I am generally happy.”
First round play is under way on a warm and sunny afternoon, with temperatures expected to reach 28C later today.