Gurugram, March 22 (IANS) Golfer Neha Tripathi played one of the finest rounds in Indian womens golf as she shot a scintillating 10-under 62 to open up a 11-shot lead after 36 holes in the sixth leg of the Hero womens Pro Tour at the Classic Golf and Country Club here on Thursday.
Neha, 26, who has been a long-time pro since 2009, was flawless as she closed both the front and back nines with stunning eagles. She also carded six other birdies, three each on either side of the course.
"I think the lowest round record was of Simi di (Smriti Mehra) at 7-under. Yes, 10-under par is a historic round. I am very happy with it. Only on the 16th, I realised that I was playing 8-under," a thrilled Neha said after the day's play.
"At my putt on the 18th, which was for an eagle to get to 10-under, my hands were shaking. My caddy Vicky Sharma (who's Shubhankar Sharma's caddy and was with him during his Maybank Championship win) told me to go for it and not to worry about whether I end up hitting 9-under or a 10-under."
"I went for it and holed my putt from 6 ft to shoot a 62 with a celebratory fist pump. Hopefully, I will convert this advantage into a win on Friday," she added.
The Kolkata girl, still searching for her first win this season, began the day with a one-shot lead and had two pars on first two holes. Despite birdies on third and sixth, there was no indication that a historic round was in the making.
Then she exploded around the turn as she birdied eighth, eagled ninth and birdied 10th and 11th to be five under through the four holes from eighth to 11th.
At that stage, she was seven-under with seven holes to go and the way she was playing, even a historic sub-60 looked possible. She parred 12th and 13th and another birdie followed on 14th.
At 8-under she still had a chance, but she failed to find birdies on the next three holes. She reached the green in two on 18th and holed her eagle putt to get to double figures under par for the first time in the history of the Hero women's Pro Tour.
What made the round even more stunning was that she had no bogeys and she seemed in total control on every hole.
Neha's solo show left everyone playing for the second place, as she opened up a 11-shot lead going into the final round.
Tvesa Malik, who opened the second day with an eagle 2 on the first, dropped a bogey on ninth and parred the rest of the 16 holes in her 71 that put her tied-2nd alongside Amandeep Drall (72).
Amandeep was three-under through first four holes and at that stage she had drawn level with playing partner Neha, who herself was two-under through four. However, her birdies dried up after that and she had just one double and one bogey in her 72.
Gaurika Bishnoi (72) was sole fourth at 1-under 143, amateur Ridhima Dilawari (71-73) was fifth and another amateur Sifat Sagoo (72-74) was sixth.
Smriti (75-72) was seventh while Vani Kapoor (74-74) trailed in eighth. Mehar Atwal (74-75) and Trisha Sunil (73-76) were tied for ninth.