Sharmila Nicollet starts with a 74 in Prague

Prague (Czech Republic): Trying to find her feet on the Ladies European Tour, India`s Sharmila Nicollet shot a modest two-over 74 to give herself a chance of making the weekend cut at the Raiffeisenbank Prague Golf Masters on a sunny but windy opening day.

Sharmila, who made the Tour debut through the Qualifying School, had suffered an injury, which seems to have healed sufficiently to play this week. "I have struggled with my ball striking and putting the past few months. It is somewhat a tough time in my career but I put together a decent start," she said.

Starting on the 10th, she had bogeys on 14th and 15th and turned in two-over.

A birdie on the first was a good recovery, but bogeys on sixth and seventh were again setbacks. Ending the day with a birdie on ninth, her closing hole of the day, was somewhat reassuring for Sharmila, who will need a good round to make the cut.

Germany`s Elisabeth Esterl and Italian Veronica Zorzi made a flying start as they shared the lead at Albatross Golf Resort. They shot six-under 66s to end two strokes ahead of England`s Melissa Reid and South Africans Lee-Anne Pace and Connie Chen.

Zorzi made an explosive start with a front-nine total of six-under 30 after four birdies and an eagle at the par-five ninth hole. The 31-year-old from Verona was steadier on the back-nine, with just one bogey at the 15th against a birdie on the 16th.

Esterl was six-under after 12 holes, following a run of four birdies and an eagle. She dropped a shot at the par-four 14th but recovered with a birdie on the 17th.