A talent set to blossom

A talent set to blossom

No, it’s not her annual academic examination that we are talking about, but her exploits on the golf course that has made numerous heads turn in awe.

Just when most kids of her age were burning the midnight oil in trying to score that extra mark, little Aditi was busy scripting her own history, accomplishing them with the poise, calmness and maturity way beyond her age.

Aditi, who turned 13 on March 29, made everyone at the Bangalore Golf Club stand up and take notice of her talent after blazing  through a strong and experienced field to clinch the strokeplay Billo Sethi trophy in the 94th All-India Ladies amateur championship in February.

Cashing in on every bit of familiarity the course offered, Aditi dished out a brilliant display in carding 146 and became the youngest player ever to lay the hands on the prestigious trophy.

She then carried on the momentum into the punishing matchplay format, scoring victories over Meher Atwal and Amandeep Drall before losing to eventual champion Gauri Monga in the semifinals.

"This season has been really wonderful for me," said Aditi. "I played a lot more tournaments, travelled a lot more and won many titles as well. Actually, I was confident of doing well this year. I knew if I played consistently throughout the week, I would win and that is what I aimed for. But, of course, winning the Billoo Sethi is unimaginable and I will always cherish it for the rest of my life."

Determined to make every bit of her talent count and enjoying great support from her parents, Aditi decided to take serious plunge into competitive golf last year, competing in tournaments not just in South India but up North as well. Aditi, who has a fine short game, conjured an impressive five victories out of seven appearances, including the All India Junior Championship (Category B) at the Eagleton Golf Resort.

What sets Aditi apart is her confidence to battle it with girls much senior to her. Not overwhelmed by the task, the youngster overcame hurdles in varying conditions across the country, finishing as the top Junior golfer in Category B and second behind Gurbani Singh in Category A.

Rewarding her consistency, the Indian Golf Union invited Aditi for the Queen Sirikit Cup selections trials last month and youngster made optimum use of the chance, making the cut and creating another piece of history by the becoming the youngest ever from the country to earn a ticket to the prestigious international women’s amateur tournament.

Despite a strong international field, the young Aditi finished 35th individually after rounds of 79, 80 and 81, and fourth in team championship along with Gauri and Vani Kapoor.

"It feels nice to have played the Sirikit Cup," said a beaming Aditi who played a full 18-hole round when she was just six years old. "Representing the country is a huge thing and I am proud to have done it. This is just the start I needed for my career and I hope to keep the good work going. I am still very young, a lot more needs to be done. These victories under pressure give me the confidence," added Aditi who trains under Tarun Sardesai.

While a lot more work still needs to be done and miles to be travelled before Aditi can call the shots among the big guns, at least a promising start has been made.

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