Aditi on the right path

Aditi on the right path

Personality : Having proved her class in domestic events, the Bengaluru golfer has successfully shifted her focus to international tournaments

Aditi on the right path

Over the last five years, gifted teenager Aditi Ashok has been one of the most consistent golfers in the country. Such is her talent that every event she tees off, she starts as a firm favourite — so much so that even when she enrols herself for professional events when the national women’s tour comes calling in Bengaluru, major spotlight is thrust on her. Two wins on the professional tour, including a record-breaking one this year despite being an amateur still, is ample proof that she's a cut above many of them.

Well aware where she stands in the country — she’s the No 1 ladies amateur golfer — the 17-year-old Aditi decided it was time to test herself internationally and in that quest, the reigning All India Amateur champion has exceeded everyone’s expectations with another blistering performance.

She became the first Asian to win the St Rule Trophy and Lawson Trophy (for lowest aggregate score) at the prestigious St Andrews — the home of golf — in May before adding another feather to her cap by becoming the first from the continent to clinch a silver medal in the International European Ladies Amateur Championship at Murhof Golf Club.

Aditi’s appetite for success further increased at the British Amateur Open Stroke Play Championship where she became the first from the country to taste glory at the event. A fortnight ago she romped home in the Singha Thailand Amateur Championship to take her world amateur rankings to 29 after having started the year just outside the 250s.

“I could feel that I was playing much better at the end of last year,” Aditi, who has been part of the Indian national team for the last five years, told Deccan Herald. “I had good performances at the Indian Open and Dubai Open. Between January to March I just played one tournament which gave me a lot of time to work on my game. I was prepared for the summer. I missed out on the Queen Sirikit Cup, the first event which the IGU helps the golfers play, due to academic commitments. After that I knew my summer was fairly free. I decided I wanted to play more international events where some of the best players in the world compete. I wanted to see where I stand. With every event I got more confidence in my game.”

One of the major forces behind Aditi’s steady rise is coach Steven Giuliano. An Australian settled in Kuala Lumpur, he has been working with Aditi since 2012, fine-tuning her craft, largely virtually. “He’s definitely made a big difference to my game. Not just with my game, but the way I practice and train has become a lot more efficient. I think that’s been the big change. It’s not been easy because I don’t get to see him more often. But I play tournaments in Malaysia and every time I go there I meet him.

“Whether we meet or not, I’m in touch with him quite frequently via skype and email. A lot of of my success boils down to the way I practice. My iron game has become better. He has helped me tremendously on that front. It helps me create more birdie opportunities.”

The lessons Aditi learns from the limited classes with Giuliano, she hones it rigorously almost everyday. After attending school from morning 8.00 am till 2.00 pm, she plays golf for four hours before working on her fitness for an hour. During the weekends, she spends the entire day at the golf course, well aware of the fruits of hard labour.

While thrilled at her exploits on the global stage this year, Aditi felt she has plenty more to achieve. “Every year I want to improve my world amateur ranking. This year I knew I had a lot of events to improve my rankings as compared to the previous ones. I knew if I played well I could bring the rankings up. The year is not over yet but to some extent I’ve achieved the goals that I’d set. I know I’ve played well this year but to stay on top I need to play better. It gets a lot harder now and I need to keep improving. It feels great to be amongst the top 30 amateurs in the world.”

On March 29 next year, Aditi will turn 18 and the natural progression for any amateur is turning professional. However, Aditi was non-committal on the front despite having a game good enough to take home a few winners’ cheques. “Turning pro is a huge decision. It is something I need to sit down with my family and coach Steven and decide. I’ll take a call at it later.”


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