Indian golf has a few big names in Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa, Arjun Atwal and SSP Chourasia. Women’s golf in India does not have much big names with Smriti Mehra being a name which only a few might know.However, there is one name in women’s golf who is a a rising star showing a lot of promise and can be a huge name in the future and that is Aditi Ashok who is just 19 now.
Early Years of Aditi Ashok
Aditi Ashok was born in Bangalore in 1998 and began playing golf from the age of 5. Her parents were immensely supportive with her father being her caddie. Aditi began competing from the age of 7 and by the time she reached 10, she already had a title to her name. Her game gradually began improving over the years and by the end of 2011, she had three amateur titles to her name.
Aditi’s fourth amateur title came a year later and in 2013, she won the Asia Pacific Junior Championship. In the same year, she competed at the Asian Youth Games at Nanjing under the Olympic flag. Aditi came 10th with a score of 3-over-par 219.
Amateur success and competing at major youth tournaments
The following year, Ashok won her sixth amateur title at the Eastern India ladies amateur tournament and also competed at the Asian Games at Incheon. Aditi ended 21st with a score of 11-over-par 299. She came second amongst the three Indian golfers competing in the tournament behind Gurbani Singh who ended 15th. Aditi also competed at the Youth Olympics at Nanjing where she secured 11th position in the women’s individual event. She also competed at the team event with Feroz Garewal and the duo were ranked 21st.
In 2015, Aditi won her seventh amateur title and she also secured her Ladies European Tour card for the 2016 season by winning the Lalla Aicha Tour School qualifying. This made her the youngest winner of a Q-School for an international tour.
European Tour titles and Olympics
She began her European Tour in emphatic fashion by winning the Hero Women’s Indian Open at Gurgaon with a score of 3-under-par 213. This made her the first Indian to win a Ladies European Tour title as well as the tournament’s youngest ever champion. She followed this by winning her second European Tour title at the inaugural Qatar Ladies Open just two weeks later with a score of 15-under-par 273.
Golf returned back to the Olympics after an extremely long wait of 112 years. Aditi Ashok was one of the three golfers that represented India at the Rio Olympics. This made her the first Indian to play the Asian Youth Games, the Youth Olympics, the Asian Games and the Olympics. She began well by maintaining her stay at the top eight of the field for the first two rounds.
However, her third round was disappointing as she shot 79. This was followed by shooting 76 in the final round where she missed some putts and for the first time in four days, had no birdies, just three bogeys and one double bogey. This led her to finish 41st out of the 60 putters with a score of 7-over-par 291. Slipping from the top 8 to 41st is quite a nasty drop but it still isn’t too bad for an 18 year old teenager who is in the beginning phase of her professional career.
Aditi Ashok’s performance at the Rio Olympics surpassed those of her male compatriots SSP Chawrasia and Anirban Lahiri. Chawrasia ended tied 50th with a score of 5-over-par 289 while Lahiri ended 57th with a score of 10-over-par 294.
She ended the 2016 season in second position and was adjudged the “Rookie of the Year”. Aditi gained a LPGA Tour card for the 2017 season through the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament which was held during the end of the year.
A fine European Tour season last year coupled with the Olympic experience has definitely boosted Aditi’s morale. Hence, we can expect her to produce some promising and stunning performances during the LPGA Tour this season.
2017 LPGA Tour
Ashok’s first LPGA Tour tournament was the ANA inspiration tournament where she came tied 42nd. She then played at the KPMG Women’s PGA championship, coming tied 29th.
She followed this by missing the cuts for the final round at the British and US Opens. Aditi then ended the Scottish and Victorian Opens tied 51st and tied 83rd respectively. Aditi Ashok is currently ranked 132nd in the Order of Merit.
In an era where females have been producing a plethora of stellar performances in Indian sports, Aditi Ashok has done pretty well to be in the same league as the likes of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and the Women’s Cricket Team. She is the poster-girl of Indian golf and has a very biright future ahead. One thing’s for sure that Aditi Ashok will be a household name in the years to come.