Aditi Ashok earns Major berth with T14th finish at Kia Classic

Overnight tied 20th, Aditi, who carded 70-72-71 on the first three days, saved her best for the last, at the Aviara Golf Club, sending down eight birdies, against a bogey, in the final round.

The T14th finish, at Kia Classic, was also an early birthday present for Aditi Ashok, who turns 20 on March 29, when the ANA Inspiration tees off. (File Photo)   -  AFP

Indian golfer Aditi Ashok turned in a brilliant seven-under 65, to sign off tied 14th, at the Kia Classic, earning herself a spot in the season’s first Major for women — the ANA Inspiration this week.

Overnight tied 20th, Aditi, who carded 70-72-71 on the first three days, saved her best for the last, at the Aviara Golf Club, sending down eight birdies, against a bogey, in the final round. That took her to 10-under 278, and she ended six spots behind the winner, Eun-Hee Ji of Korea (67). It was also an early birthday present for Aditi, who turns 20 on March 29, when the ANA Inspiration tees off.

Eun-Hee Ji won, with an ace on Sunday’s closing stretch, to capture her fourth career win, on the LPGA Tour, at the Kia Classic. She aced the 166-yard par-three, 14th hole and got a brand new 2019 Kia Sorrento. Ji carded a final round five-under 67 to win by two strokes, ahead of Cristie Kerr and Lizette Salas.

Aditi opened with a birdie, and then dropped a shot on the sixth. However, birdies on seventh and ninth saw her turn in two-under. Still there was no indication of the birdie spree that came on the back nine. She birdied 11th, 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th to gain five strokes in last eight holes.

READ: Aditi Ashok Tied-50th at Founders Cup in LPGA

The result also helped her move from 87th to 63rd, as the Top-80, on the Money list, qualified for the first Major at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.

“My game is in a really good place heading into the ANA. It’s unfortunate that I wasn’t already in the field (for the ANA Inspiration) before this week. I missed out via the money list, from last year, by just a few spots.,” Aditi told LPGA.com.

“Now that I’m there, I’m sure my game is ready and I’m really looking forward to it. It will be amazing to be at ANA during my birthday week.”

Last week, Aditi closed with a 68, at Bank of Founders Cup, in Phoenix. In her rookie season, in 2017, Aditi began solidly with rounds of 72 and 69, but finally finished T42. Aditi is a three-time winner on the Ladies European Tour.