Defending champion Phatlum Pornanong grabbed the limelight early with a brilliant four-under 68, propelling her into a two-stroke lead in the first round of the DLF Women's Indian Open golf at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon on Wednesday.
South Korean Kim Hae Jung was second with two-under 70 while there was a four-way tie for the third position at one-under 71 between Titiya Plucksataporn (Thailand), Wei Li (China), Nicole Montgomery(Australia) and Bo Mi Park (Korea).
Saaniya Sharma held aloft the Indian flag, brining in the day's best among the home stars, as she returned a card of even-par 72 placing her at tied-seventh. Smriti Mehra and Nalini Singh were among several others placed at tied-25th position with cards of 76.
Tanya Wadhwa shot a three-over 75 to take the lead among the amateurs. Gauri Monga was placed second in that category at five-over 77 while Laverry Kumar and Shwata Galande were tied third at six-over 78 apiece.
Pornanong who recently earned a conditional card to the prestigious Ladies PGA Tour, started her round with a bang with a birdie on her opening hole. Two more birdies followed on the sixth and eighth and the 19 year-old made the turn at three-under.
At this stage she was clearly the leader and this prompted her to play the back-nine relatively safely. A birdie on the 11th was followed by a series of pars.
The 23 year-old, who played with Smriti Mehra and Phatlung Pornanong, had a decent front-nine with a birdie on the sixth. Making the turn South Korean Kim, who narrowly missed out on winning last week's Thailand Ladies Open losing in a play-off to Thai girl Onnarin Sattayabanphot, looked determined to make amends this time round.
at one-under, Kim birdied the tenth to go two under. Her first and only bogey of the day on the 12th was offset by a birdie on the 15th.