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India's Sharmila one round away from Ladies European Tour card

Wednesday January 18, 2012 11:54:06 PM, IANS

La Manga (Spain): India's Sharmila Nicollet crossed the first hurdle and stayed on course for the full playing rights on the Ladies European Tour as she carded a four-over 75 at the par-71 North Course but was still on course to finishing top-30 that win the card.

Now tied 23rd at five-over for four rounds, she is among those who made the cut meant for top 50.

Sharmila, 20, playing at the demanding La Manga Golf Resort for the first time, jointly led the first round in the LET Qualifying School Final stage and then was tied second after two rounds.

She ties progress for one more round, the fifth in as many days to fight for the 30 places that are available on the Ladies European Tour, one of the world's biggest ladies professional golf tours.

Sharmila, who has never played five rounds on the trot in any tournament also played four rounds last week in the pre-qualifying, making it one of the most grueling 10 days of young pro career.

The lone Indian in the hunt, she had two bogeys on the third and the eighth, before finding her first birdie on the ninth. On the back nine, she double bogeyed the 11th, 13th and 14th to fall five-over for the day. A birdie on the 15th brought back the focus and she ended the days with three closing pars and a round of 75.

As many as 52 players made the cut at nine-over and after the fifth and final round, the top-30 will get full playing rights and the rest will get conditional rights, which translates into fewer starts on the European Tour events.

England's Jodi Ewart shot two-over 73 at the par-71 North Course but still led the field by four. She is now 11-under for four rounds.

The second placed Anais Maggetti shot six-under 67 on the par-73 South Course.

Tied third are Stepha Kirchamayr and Carlota Ciganda at four-under for 72 holes.

Only six players are under par as the tired and tough conditions are taking a toll on the women.

The 90-hole Final Qualifying School is being played with 36 holes on each of La Manga Club's North and South courses for the first four rounds with a cut to the leading 50 players and ties after 72 holes. The fifth round will be played on the South Course on Thursday and the top 30 players will earn LET Membership.




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