Pornanong Phatlum, Bree Arthur share lead

The Thai conquered the fairways. But the Swede burnt the course with a 10-under 62, obliterating the course record of 65 set by Laura Davies in 2010.

Two-time winner Pornanong Phatlum struggles to express but not Caroline Hedwall; very contrasting personalities but strikingly similar in their vocation. The target is the title in the Hero women’s Indian open at the DLF Country Club here.

Saturday was again a windy day but more eventful as the ladies came into form, having come to terms with the greens. The early tee-off hampered first day’s leader Aditi Ashok but gave Pornanong the space to emerge the leader despite Caroline’s sensational 10 under-par show.

Caroline smashed the course record as she finished the day behind Pornanong. The Thai carded seven-under 65 to share the lead with Australian Bree Arthur (67) at seven-under 137.

Among the Indians, three each from the pro and amateur ranks made the ‘cut’.

“My drives were much better today,” said Pornanong. She had six fairway hits on the first day and doubled it on Saturday morning. She putted well too.

For Caroline, it was putting that made the difference. She summed up her performance with precision.

“I started on number 10 and holed a three feet putt. Then I three-putted on 11 and made a five-metre putt on 12.

“On 13, I made a four-feet putt. 14, I made a three-feet putt. 15: two-putted for par. 16 I missed a four feet putt. Then I made an eight feet putt on 17, a par on 18, par on one, probably a five feet putt on two.

“I almost made a hole-in-one on number three, so that was a very simple one. On six I made an eagle, holed a seven metre putt. Just a tap-in on seven, a four metre putt on number eight and then par.”

The tee-off made the difference as far as Aditi was concerned.

“The speed of the greens changes when you tee off in the morning. I took time to settle down and kept the speed on the greens in mind.”

Caroline may not relish the spicy food on offer but she can’t resist an opportunity of playing in Delhi. “The atmosphere is so friendly here. I’ve worked hard and got back my game (after a stress fracture).”

The scores: Pornanong Phatlum (Tha) (72, 65), Bree Arthur (Aus) (70, 67) 137; Caroline Hedwall (Swe) (76, 62) 138; Laura Davies (Eng) (71, 69) 140; Nontaya Srisawang (Tha) (71, 70), Florentyna Parker (Eng) (70, 71), Elizabeth Bennett (Eng) (72, 69) 141; Kiran Matharu (Eng) (73, 69), Stefania Croce (Ita) (69, 73) 142; Becky Morgan (Wal) (70, 73), Aditi Ashok (Ind) (69, 74), Carlota Ciganda (Esp) (75, 68) 143. Indians making the 'cut': Aditi Ashok (A) (69, 74) was tied 10th; Nalini Singh Siwach (73, 74), tied 33rd; Sharmila Nicollet (73, 76), Gurbani Singh (A) (76, 73) tied 43rd; Vani Kapoor (75, 75) tied 47th and Millie Saroha (A) (76, 76) tied 62nd.

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