Hull, Derrey one shot off the pace

Thailand’s Thidapa Sunawannapura grabbed a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Hero Women’s Indian Open at Delhi Golf Club after another scorching day in the Indian capital on Friday.

A second-round 74 was enough for the 21-year-old Ladies Asian Golf Tour member to end the day four-under-par ahead of first round co-leader Valentine Derrey of France and Charley Hull from England.

Thailand’s Saraporn Chamchoi and amateur Gauri Monga of India were two shots further behind.

Although Sunawannapura still holds the advantage, she felt that it was the result of good fortune as on the 13th hole she made a ‘lucky’ bogey. After driving into the bushes, the ball bounced two yards clear allowing a clear passage to the green – and despite hitting her second shot just two yards further – she played four to the front of the green and chipped in for a five. It was one of four bogeys on her card, against two birdies.

Suwannapura won the Vidalia Tour Championship on the US Symetra Tour in 2012 and ended 73rd on the LPGA money list this year, but would rate winning the Hero Women’s Indian Open, which is tri-sanctioned by the LAGT, Ladies European Tour and Women’s Golf Association of India, as her career-best achievement.

On being in contention, she said: “It’s exciting! You cannot expect anything on this course. What’s going to happen is going to happen.”

Hull, the youngest professional in the field aged 17, fired a level par 72 containing two birdies and two bogeys. She moved a stroke ahead of the field at five-under-par after picking up shots at the 11th and second holes, making putts of three and ten feet respectively, but three-putted on the third green before failing to get up and down from the greenside bunker on hole four.

Looking ahead to the final round, Hull said: “I’m pretty happy. I’m in a good position for tomorrow, one shot behind the lead, which I think is good. It looks like there are some fairly new names at the top of the leader board so it should be fun out there.”

After recording five straight runner-up finishes at the start of the season and making her Solheim Cup debut in August she is hoping to cap the year with her maiden professional victory.

Derrey is also in the hunt for her first Ladies European Tour win and her scorecard was perfect apart from two mistakes on holes nine and ten and she took a three-over 75.

She said: “I missed my drive on nine and made double bogey and then missed my approach shot on 10 and made bogey: that’s it. I didn’t make a putt today. I hit 15 greens, just missed two holes. The course is really narrow so you have to hit good shots at the right moment.”

England’s Hannah Burke and Hannah Jun of the USA are just four shots from the lead in a share of sixth going into the final day, with eight further players a stroke back on one-over-par.

Of the 19 Indian players in the field, 10 made the cut, including LET members Smriti Mehra (T41st), Sharmila Nicollet (T62nd) and five amateurs. The cut mark, which fell at nine-over-par, was one of the highest recorded on the LET, demonstrating the demanding nature of the course with its tight, tree-lined fairways.