|Becky Brewerton on the first morning at DLF Golf and Country Club
Italian Stefania Croce and Becky Brewerton of Wales tied for the lead on three under par 69 after a cool but sunny first morning at the Hero Women’s Indian Open at DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.
Croce, playing the course for the first time after recovering from a fever earlier in the week, breezed around with five birdies against two bogeys.
The highlight of Brewerton’s round was an eagle on the par-5 sixth and she was five under par after 15 holes but then dropped two shots in her last three.
“I’m happy and it’s nice to be up there after round one,” said the former Solheim Cup player from Abergele. “A lot of rounds this year I’ve struggled so it’s nice to be up there again.”
On her round, the 30-year-old explained: “I started off pretty average, parred the first few and then I eagled six, the par five, got on in two and made quite a long putt there, so obviously that kicked me on a bit. I hit a driver and then a rescue into the green, then holed a 40 feet putt.
“On the back nine I started to play really well and got on to a good birdie run, I think 12, 14, 15, which was good. I hit the wrong club on 16, hit it over the green, so a bit of a mistake, I could have hit one less but the water at the front makes you go more past the pin and I had a terrible lie so I didn’t have much chance of getting up and down there. Then on 18 I decided to go for it because I felt like I had the shot but I just came out of it a bit and didn’t carry the water. If I’m there tomorrow I’ll go for it again. When you’re playing well I think you’ve got to be aggressive and I’ve spent most of the year laying up from in the trees so it was nice to have a chance to go for it for a change.”
Brewerton has had an indifferent season although her form has improved of late with her tie for fourth at the Sanya Ladies Open - her best result of the year by far.
Now she is targeting her third official LET title and first since the Spanish Open at Panoramica in 2009.
She explained that a nasty fall off a bicycle had set her back at the start of the season. “At the start of the year I was practising before Australia and I had a really bad accident, I fell off my bike. I was going down some terrain quite quickly and I hit something in the road and absolutely came flying, in Spain. I landed on my hip on the edge of the kerb and I’ve still got a big dent in there now actually. It’s okay but I think that really knocked me. I’ve got a hole in the muscle. I went and had an x-ray and it wasn’t broken but I pushed almost all the muscle inside the hip joint and waiting for it all to pop back out. It’s totally fine now but that really knocked me at the start of the year and in Australia I really struggled. I got on a plane three days after I did it, to Australia and my leg was completely black. I had a lot of work done, there’s a bit of scar tissue. It was a pretty bad fall. I cracked my head open and a couple of other things. I cut my hand open. I think it was a massive stone that was half way in the ground.
“I think that started it off. Because I wasn’t quite as good with my hip through the ball, it showed up a couple of faults a bit more than they normally would have been. I’ve always done this, I’ve got to stop it and try something else. I’ll play well for a year, win a tournament and then I won’t win one for a couple of years. It’s always been like that and deep down I think I’ve always had a couple of flaws that maybe just make you not get to the next level.
“A couple of weeks before China I started working with a new coach and it’s worked great. It’s a real change in philosophy I guess. I’ve always been more traditional before with the way I’ve tried to swing the club. This is staying a bit more centred, not moving as much so it’s clicked straight away and I feel like now I’m able to go out and I don’t have to rely on someone to be there, I can fix myself because I know what I’m doing wrong. I know what I’m doing in my head and it’s a bit more numbers and geometry in the swing. It feels good and I’m delighted with it. It’s completely changed my game. I was missing fairways by 50, 60 yards before and now, I’m hitting nearly every fairway, I’m down the pin and every part of my game feels good. I think when you’re struggling so much off the tee it really rips the confidence out of the rest of your game but when you start hitting fairways again, all of a sudden you start holing more putts as well. It’s nice to have some confidence back and know it’s going to go somewhere near the fairway rather than nowhere near it, so that’s good.”
|Stefania Croce off to a flying start in Gurgaon
Croce’s round started with four birdies on the back nine followed by a fifth birdie at the first before she dropped shots at the fifth and eighth holes.
The 1992 Ford Ladies Open champion from Como said: “I birdied the tenth and 11th, with 15 foot putts. Then I chipped it in on 13 for birdie so I was already three under after four holes. Then I made another birdie on no.18, a three-footer putt for birdie and I made a birdie on no.1, like six footers. I was five under after 10 holes. I bogeyed no.5, which is a difficult hole, and I three-putted eight. I didn’t make a putt on nine, so two bogeys and five birdies.
“I made some putts and had confidence in my caddie with the lines so the ball was just going in. Everybody said to me that the greens were difficult so to have somebody that gives you a good line is a good advantage.”
Croce was unsure whether she would tee up in the tournament owing to her sickness but pulled through with the help of a few aspirins from her roommate Veronica Zorzi among others.
She said: “I was sick and I was in bed Monday, Tuesday, then Wednesday I came here and walked the course. This is my first time in India. I like it and I love the course. I think the greens are fast.”