Lindberg tied for the lead in India

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Pernilla Lindberg and Nontaya Srisawang share the first round lead at the Hero Women’s Indian Open.

Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and Nontaya Srisawang of Thailand shot rounds of six under par 66 on Friday to share the first round lead at the Hero Women’s Indian Open.

Both players had flawless rounds containing six birdies on the DLF Golf course in Gurgaon near New Delhi. They played through cool and foggy conditions early in the morning after temperatures fell by around 10 degrees following rain overnight.

Srisawang, who tied for second at the 2010 event on the same golf course, had four successive birdies from the 13th hole and picked up further shots at the first and the ninth holes.

The 23-year-old LET rookie from Chiang Mai was happy to find herself in such a strong position after having, ‘a few good bounces.’

She said: “I was so lucky today. I hit 17 greens and just gave myself a chance.”

Srisawang is searching for her first victory on the LET, as is Lindberg. The 25-year-old from Bollnas has twice been a runner up in two years on the LET, including five weeks ago when she finished seven shots behind world number one Yani Tseng at the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open in China.

Lindberg revealed that she was suffering from a fever and just trying to make contact with the golf ball as she made four birdies on the back nine and two on the front.

“I was really relaxed out there because I was actually kind of sick last night, so they say, ‘Beware the sick golfer’. I kind of just walked out there with the attitude that I was happy to be there,” she admitted.

Her compatriot Caroline Hedwall, Florentyna Parker and Pornanong Phatlum are only a shot off the lead after rounds of 67, while Kiran Matharu is one shot further behind.

Hedwall, the highest ranked player in the field, admitted that she had recovered from a bought of ‘Delhi-belly’ which struck on Wednesday evening.

A three-time winner on the LET already this season, the 22-year-old Solheim Cup player birdied three of her last four holes to get within one stroke of the lead.

“I just played really solid. I hit a lot of greens and had a lot of birdie opportunities. I didn’t make that many putts but I’m happy with five under so hopefully I can start making a lot of putts during the weekend,” she said.

Parker was five under after an eagle and three birdies in her first eight holes and felt that hitting fairways was a huge advantage on the tricky, tree-lined course.

“I hit the fairways and I seemed to have quite short irons into the greens so I could place them quite nicely and give myself a nicer putt,” Parker said. “It depends on the pins and if you miss the wrong side you can have a horrible putt. You need to find the fairways, I think.”

However Pornanong, a two-time winner of the event before it joined the LET schedule, fired five birdies despite hitting only nine fairways.

She said: “My approach shots were very good today. I had no bogeys and was able to concentrate on my game so I could play well.”

For Matharu, a maiden win on Sunday would be extra special. The 22-year-old said: “If I could win any tournament, it would be this one.

“I’ve got family in India, some in Delhi, some in Punjab, eight hours from here. I always want to play well in India. I’ve played this tournament twice when it’s been on the European Tour and a couple of times before. I love this course so I always love to play here.”

She explained that she has gained 20 yards of distance since replacing her irons a fortnight ago.

“I’ve been playing with the wrong clubs for two years: no wonder!” she said. The LET’s club fitter, Gene Fulton, had advised that she was playing with the wrong shafts.

Players a stroke further back on 69 are Karen Lunn, Felicity Johnson, Lee-Anne Pace, Vikki Laing, Cassandra Kirkland and Hannah Jun.

Laura Davies, meanwhile, did not feel confident about retaining her title after a round of 75 left her nine shots off the pace in a share of 66th.

She decided to push her own trolley around the course after her caddie’s flight from the UK was delayed and will now be playing to make the cut, to the leading 60 players and those tied after two rounds.

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