Indian teenager Aditi Ashok capped a brilliant show to clinch the Indian Open title on Sunday, becoming the first woman from the country to claim a European Tour event.
The 18-year-old shot an even par-72 in the final round to win the title.
Carrying a two-stroke overnight lead, Ashok took her total score to three-under 213, one stroke clear of Brittany Lincicome of the US and Spaniard Belen Mozo who finished tied second.
Glad tidings came in from Manila as well, where SSP Chawrasia won the Asian Tour’s Manila Masters in a playoff, making it a successful weekend for Indian golf.
Ashok had carded 3 under 69 on the second day to grab the sole lead at the DLF Golf and Country Club. On Sunday, with Jesus (her caddy) by her side, little could have gone wrong for Aditi Ashok.
But her third shot on the final hole seemed to have gone awry and was heading towards the bunker. Fortunately, the ball rolled back on to the green at settled four feet from the flag.
It took a gentle tap from Aditi to seal her maiden victory. That it came at the Hero Women’s Indian Open made it sweeter.
The one-shot victory at the DLF Golf and Country Club will not only get her direct entry on the Ladies European Tour (LET) till the end of 2018, the win also makes her a prime contender for the LET’s rookie-of-the-year award.
It’s been a phenomenal season for the Bengaluru golfer since she turned professional at the start of the year. The youngest to tee off at the Rio Olympics, she made an impression at the world’s biggest sporting event and soon after posted four consecutive top-10 finishes on the LET.
The happenings on Sunday will take time to sink in, “probably tomorrow or when I get home”, but then Aditi will have little time to ponder as she’s off to the qualifying school in the US in the endeavour to earn playing rights on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), and compete at the highest level.
On the miraculous recovery on the 18th, she said, “I was aiming for the flag but pulled it left. Luckily, the ball rolled back. Guess the course made it up to me.”
213 Aditi Ashok (72, 69, 72) ($60,000)
214 Brittany Lincicome (75, 70, 69); Belen Mozo (73, 70, 71) ($36,000)
215 Kanphanitnan Muangkumsakul (72, 72, 71) ($24,000)
216 Florentyna Parker (70, 76, 70) ($18,000)