Golf: Aditi Ashok wins Kenya Ladies Open

Golf: Aditi Ashok wins Kenya Ladies Open

Aditi Ashok turned in one of the most dominating performances on the Ladies European Tour with a nine-shot win at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open on Sunday.

It was a fourth win on the Ladies European Tour (LET) for the Indian, who now plays mostly on the Ladies PGA in the United States.

Aditi, who will turn 25 next month, also ended a long drought as she last won in Abu Dhabi in November 2017. Her first two titles came in successive starts — at the Hero Women’s Indian Open and then the following week in Qatar Ladies Open.

“It has been a great week, it’s proof to myself that my off-season and hard work has paid off,” she said after the match.

Aditi, who had her father Ashok on the bag, shot rounds of 67-70-69-74 and totalled 12-under 280 at the Par-73 Vipingo Ridge, where she had finished runners-up in 2019, the year the event was first held.

“It was good to have my dad on the bag, three of my wins have been with him caddying, but not just him there’s my mum (Maheshwari) back home and I have worked a lot with my coach and my fitness team.” Interestingly, Aditi had her father on the bag at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and then had her mother at the Tokyo Olympics.

Even as Aditi held the spotlight, India’s top amateur, teenager Avani Prashanth, shot 1-under 72 on the final day and ended in top-10 as she was tied ninth, while Amandeep Drall (77) finished tied-55th.

Aditi, playing her first event in more than two months, took a three-shot lead in the first round and then extended it to five after two rounds and made it six after the third. She finished the event nine shots ahead of Alice Hewson of England (72), who finished birdie-birdie, and Thai teen April Angurasaranee (77).

She could have won by a double-digit margin but dropped shots at the end. She bogeyed Par-5 15th and Par-3 17th, but that was merely academic in a week where Aditi dominated the field.

Starting the final day with a six-shot lead at a course where wildlife including giraffes are a feature, Aditi played steady golf through the week. She had two bogeys on the first day, one on the second and none on the third. She dropped three shots on the final day and her 1-over 74 in the final round was her only over par round.

She opened with a birdie on the first, gave back that shot on the eighth but picked a birdie on the 11th to be 1-under through 11 holes on the final day. She dropped two shots towards the end.

With a solid record in LET – she has won four times in 60 starts and finished in the top-10 as many as 20 times, which means she has a top-10 once in every three tournaments – she will next aim for her first LPGA victory, which could make her the first Indian to win on the LPGA, just as she was the first to do on the Ladies European Tour.

Aditi, who had won professional events at home even while being an amateur, had come within a whisker of an Olympic medal at the Tokyo Games where she finished fourth.

With PTI Inputs

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