Tonje Daffinrud from Norway shot an impressive six-under-par 66 in the first round of the Hero Women’s Indian Open.
The 27-year-old from Oslo had seven birdies against one bogey and birdied her last three holes to lay down the marker.
Fellow Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord, Austrian Christine Wolf and Thailand’s Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras are two behind, with Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall, England’s Florentyna Parker and Indian Ridhima Dilawari on three-under.
It was the lowest ever opening round on the Gary Player Course at DLF Golf and Country Club, which opened in 2015. Prior to that, two players, Pernilla Lindberg and Nontaya Srisawang, carded first rounds of 66 on the Arnold Palmer Course in 2011.
Having failed to break par in her previous three appearances at the tournament, Daffinrud made two birdies in her first nine, firstly on the par-4 11th and then, at the daunting, uphill par-4 17th, played to a raised green surrounded by hazards.
On the 17th, she said: “It’s a hole where you almost want to close your eyes while you play it. I hit it close, to two metres, made the putt. I lowered my shoulders after that and went for it.”
She then birdied the first, bogeyed the third and birdied the fourth, before coming in with three successive birdies.
“My iron game was great. I didn’t make many mistakes, which is hard to do on this course, but I did have a lot of birdie chances within five metres and pretty good putting, so I made it simple today,” said the fourth year Ladies European Tour player, who won twice on the LET Access Series in 2014, before becoming injured.
Fellow Norwegian Skarpnord, (above), who also started from the 10th, carded five birdies against one bogey. The three-time LET winner, who last won at the 2013 South African Women’s Open, which was reduced to 18 holes due to adverse weather, was relishing the challenge of the Gary Player course at DLF. She said: “I like when you play courses where you have to play good golf to have a good score, where you can’t duff it and roll it up onto the green and make the putt for birdie. I really like it when we play great courses with a bit of distance where you have to hit the ball well, to have a good score. If you can play four rounds under par here then you have done a very good job.”
Wolf carded a 68 despite making a double bogey on the par-5 18th and recovered well with three birdies and an eagle on the front nine.
Earlier in the day, Thanapolboonyaras set the target with a bogey-free 68. The 20-year-old from Roiet, making her tournament debut, said: “This course is pretty tough, so you have to stick to the plan and stay patient. You need to hit the fairways and greens and hit the right part of the green and try to make two putts. Par is good enough.”
The 2017 champion Camille Chevalier recorded a level par first round of 72, to sit in a share of 18th position, but last year’s runner-up, Michele Thomson (80), will be looking for a low second round in order to progress to the weekend.