Aditi aims for second title

Aditi aims for second title

Bengalurean starts favourite; Europeans pose tough challenge

Aditi aims for second title

New Delhi: Indian women's golf has never looked this promising. It needed a champion who could inspire and pull the crowds. And Aditi Ashok seems to be doing just that.

The 19-year-old had a sensational rookie year and is fast building on that. As the defending champion, she will be the centre of attention at the Hero Women's Indian Open, beginning on Friday at DLF and Country Club.

Aditi's success has raised the benchmark for fellow and budding golfers in India. In a country forever starving for sporting success, Aditi, with her steady performances, is quickly attaining star status. The teenager has already pocketed three LET Tour titles, the most recent being the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open in Abu Dhabi last week.

"I hit 88 per cent of greens last week and with the putting if I can do that then it would be a very good score. I think that was the key. I like this golf course, but I would need three good days to win the title again," Aditi said.

It has been a rather busy year for the Bengaluru girl who has played most of her golf in United States-based LPGA Tour. Her brisk improvement is acknowledged by her peers, too

"I think it's phenomenal what Aditi has done for this country. There have always been great players from here, like Simi (Smriti) Mehra, who has been around for a long time, but it's really impressive what Aditi has done and I think she's an inspiration for young girls especially," remarked Beth Allen, who had finished tied sixth here last year.

The others headlining the Indian pack include Sharmila Nicollet, who is back after spending three months in US, and Gaurika Bishnoi, leader on the Hero Order of Merit on domestic Tour.

"It helps if you have local knowledge. I have an edge because I have been playing here for eight years," Bishnoi said.

Vani Kapoor, Amandeep Drall, Neha Tripathi and Smriti Mehra, who have been regularly playing on the Ladies European Tour, are the other Indians who would be closely followed.

The field on the challenging Gary Player layout comprises 114 players from over 25 countries with Carlota Ciganda being the highest world ranked at No 20. Thailand makes for the biggest contingent after India which includes 2013 champion Thidapa Suwannapura.

There are six players from the Top-20 of the latest Order of Merit, and that includes Ciganda (No 6), Klara Spilkova (9), Florentyna Parker (12), Aditi (13), Anne Van Dam (16) and Ana Menedez (19).

Besides the tough course, the players will also have to contend with heavy smog which has engulfed the capital and the NCR region.

DH News Service

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