Sedate start by Avani and Sneha, tied 19th; Team India 9th at Queen Sirikit Cup golf

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Singapore, May 24 (IANS) The Indian trio led by the prodigious Avani Prashanth had a modest start at the Queen Sirikit Cup on Tuesday.

Avani, the highest ranked amateur woman in India, at 116th in the world, and Sneha Singh, ranked 140th, shot 3-over 75 each while the third player, Jaaniya Dassani carded 8-over 80 at the Laguna National Resort, Masters Course, Singapore. They were both T-19th and nine shots behind the leader, Lee Jihyun, who carded 6-under 66.

While Avani had two birdies against five bogeys, Sneha had just one birdie against four bogeys. India were also way behind in team rankings at ninth out of the 13 teams in the competition.

Lee Jihyun helped to set the early pace by firing 66 to lead her country to the top of the leader board. Ranked 56th on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Lee traded eight birdies against two bogeys under scorching heat conditions to enjoy a four-shot lead over the Japanese pair of Mizuki Hashimoto and Tezuka Ayaka, Singapore’s Shannon Tan, Korea’s Kim Minbyeol and Fiona Xu from New Zealand. Hashimoto, the reigning Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship (WAAP) champion, battled through the elements.

Lee together with compatriot Kim, who signed for a 70, led Korea to the top of the leader board with a total gross score of eight-under-par. Japan trails by four in second place at four-under with Hashimoto and Ayaka identical round scores of 70.

Of the three players in each team, the two best scores each day are taken into consideration for team rankings.

Chinese Taipei’s Ting Hsuan Huang had the honour of carding the tournament’s first hole-in-one after she aced the par-three 12 with a nine-iron from 135 yards. Huang signed for a 73 to share 11th place.