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Professional display by amateur Aditi

She started from the 10th tee like any other player, but by the time she finished, fans had flocked to shake her hand. Sharmistha Chaudhuri reports.

other Updated: Dec 01, 2012 01:45 IST
Sharmistha Chaudhuri

She started from the 10th tee like any other player, but by the time she finished, fans had flocked to shake her hand. After all, it's not every day that you have a 14-year-old amateur in the joint lead of a Ladies European Tour sanctioned event. But the tall teenager only allowed herself a smile.

Calm, disciplined and focussed. That's Aditi Ashok for you. She hasn't watched a film in five years, neither has she touched junk food from the age of six. While most teens want to usher in their birthdays with a party and pinata, Aditi's only wish is to play golf.

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"I'm not going to get ahead of myself. I need to have a good round tomorrow," she says, finishing the opening day at the $300,000 Hero Women's Indian Open at three-under par. She shares the lead with Wales' Becky Brewerton and Italian Stefania Croce at the DLF Golf and Country Club.

Having taken up the sport at the age of five, the thick braided teen from Bangalore began playing on the South Zone tour at seven. Two years later, she won her first amateur tournament.

"That's when we knew that she was serious about golf," says her father Ashok proudly.

From not having made the cut at the tournament last year, Aditi's current handicap is at scratch.

"I really don't do anything much other than golf," she says when prodded further. "Either I'm at the Bangalore Golf Club, or I work on my fitness." Frenchman Nicolas Cabaret gives her routines for every situation which Aditi diligently follows. A pro event is not something new for this level-headed player. "They are different than the amateurs for sure but last year I won the third leg of the Hero Women's pro tour. That experience helped me today," she explains, after carding five birdies and two bogeys on Friday.