Bangalore - Vani Kapoor moved closer to her maiden professional title as she opened up a four-shot lead over veteran Smriti Mehra in the third leg of the Hero-WGAI Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the Prestige Golfshire golf course here Wednesday.
With the course proving a big challenge for the golfers, Smriti’s 76 was the day’s best at the par-72 course. Vani, who had a sub-par round of 71 on opening day, shot a 77 to total 148, as against Smriti’s 152. The veteran golfer had a similar 76 on first day.
Though Vani won a pro event last year, she was still an amateur, so if she wins Thursday, it will be her first success as a pro.
Sharing the second place with Smriti was local girl and amateur Aditi Ashok ,who dominated the amateur circuit with Vani last season.
Neha Tripathi (77-77) and Nalini Singh Siwach (74-80) were tied for fourth at 152 while Saaniya Sharma (76-81) was lying sixth.
Vani, playing her maiden season as a professional, improved on her three-shot lead from the first round, but it was not easy. Vani ran into major problems as she dropped shots on third, fourth and seventh and then had a double bogey on par-4 eighth.
At that stage, she was five-over through eight holes, but she calmed herself and birdied the ninth to finish the front nine in four-over 40.
On the back nine, she dropped a shot each on 10th and 15th, but in between picked a birdie on 13th to finish the day at 77.
“It was a tough a challenge out there,” said Vani, who was second in the first leg last month. “I am going to play in a normal way, just the way I do every day. I am not going to come under pressure.”
Smriti also had a tough time with four bogeys on front nine and another two on 12th and 13th to fall to six over, but she brought in her experience to repair the round with birdies on 14th and 16th and finished at 76.
Aditi, who last year became the first amateur to win a pro event, had a fair front nine with two bogeys and one birdie, but she dropped a double bogey on par-5 13th, a bogey on 14th and a double on par-4 18th to finish the second nine in five-over 41 and the round in six-over 78.
Shradhanjali Singh, who shot a 75 in first round retired in the second. She retired due to high fever.