Star Indian golfer Aditi Ashok dished out a bogey free final round after a stunning back nine to win the Andalucia Costa del Sol Open de Espana tournament for her second title of the season here.
Aditi’s final round of 66 with a back nine of 5-under 31 saw her finish at 17-under as she beat Anne Van Dam (68) of the Netherlands by two shots on Sunday.
It was Aditi’s second win of the season and fifth of her career on the Ladies European Tour.
She began the 2023 season with a win in Kenya in the first event of the year and ended it with another trophy here in the last event.
It was an impressive week for Aditi, who had finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, as she shot 69-68-68-66 at Real Club de Golf Las Brisas.
“It started out slow, I was missing a lot of birdies for the first six to eight holes. I hit it close on seven, after that I felt like I still had a chance. Initially, it felt like I was two shots away the whole time. I’m glad it picked up on the back nine,” said Aditi.
“It was a great battle. Anne (Van Dam), when she’s playing good, she can blow the field away and win by five to 10 shots. I knew I had to not stop making birdies and to keep trying.
“Her par when she hit the trees on 15 and my long putt, that switched the momentum a little bit. She is a great player and kept me honest out there.” Aditi, who was in a tie for second place overnight, didn’t make her first birdie until the seventh but that kickstarted her momentum.
She added two more on the 10th and 13th but it was her three birdies on the trot on 15, 16 and 17 which sealed her the title.
“On the front nine I wasn’t hitting it as good, somewhere on the back on 13 when I hit that 8-iron close I feel I made a good swing and it just picked up from there. I made three or four good swings and all of those were in makeable range. I guess the 16th tee shot was the shot of the day,” she said.
“One 18, I have struggled with that tee shot and missed it right almost all four days. It was a weird lie in the rough, I didn’t know if it would go left on me, and it did. I was just trying to make sure I had a good look at par.” India’s other star Diksha Dagar (67) ended tied-seventh on 10-under-par, along with defending champion Caroline Hedwall, Norway’s Madelene Stavnar, France’s Celine Boutier and Spanish amateur Andrea Revuelta.
Diksha improved over the last two rounds after starting with 72-71. She carded 68-67 over the weekend.
Aditi, who played only eight events this season, finished fourth on the Race to Costa del Sol, while Diksha was third.
In the 2023 Race to Costa del Sol, Trichat Cheenglab took the trophy with a tally of 1,966.52 points ahead of Boutier and Dagar.
Cheenglab followed in the footsteps of compatriot Atthaya Thitikul and became the sixth player to win both the Race to Costa del Sol and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season.
Dutch star Anne Van Dam ended the week in second place on 15-under-par after a final round of 68 (-4).
Van Dam, who has won this tournament twice previously, went toe-to-toe with Aditi throughout the final round and had five birdies and one bogey on her scorecard.
“It was a tough day. I was in there all day and it was super close. Aditi just came out and played unbelievably and she definitely deserved to win this week,” said Van Dam, a five-time winner on the LET.
“I’m very pleased with my season overall. I came close six times now, I just need to keep working hard and the wins are right around the corner.” Spain’s Ana Peláez Trivino ended the week in third place after a final round of 68 (-4) which included five birdies and one bogey.
Sweden’s Linn Grant and Australia’s Kirsten Rudgeley finished in a tie for fourth place on 12-under-par with Belgium’s Manon De Roey in outright sixth.
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