Aditi Ashok on course to create history

Aditi Ashok grew both in confidence and stature, taking the sole lead of the leaderboard after Round Two of the 10th Women’s Indian Open here on Saturday and staying on course to become the first Indian ever to win the marquee event.

Aditi Ashok, who was tied ninth overnight after an ever-par first round, was one of only three players to manage a sub-70 score of the day on the par-72 course that stayed true to its reputation of being tricky and not to be taken for granted.   -  Getty Images

Aditi Ashok grew both in confidence and stature, taking the sole lead of the leaderboard after Round Two of the 10th Women’s Indian Open here on Saturday and staying on course to become the first Indian ever to win the marquee event.

The 18-year old Aditi, who was tied ninth overnight after an ever-par first round, was one of only three players to manage a sub-70 score of the day on the par-72 course that stayed true to its reputation of being tricky and not to be taken for granted at the DLF Golf Club here.

More impressive was the fact that despite a poor start on the easier front nine, including a double bogey on the ninth, she managed to overhaul the deficit with birdies on five of the back nine holes, including the tricky 17th and the 18th.

“I didn’t start off that well and I didn’t have a good back nine yesterday, so I was looking to improve on it today. It was really good on the back nine and I was more comfortable today. I had good chances for birdies on the front nine, I missed a few putts — the bogey putt on the ninth, a couple of birdie putts that fell short — so I feel better now,” a beaming Aditi said after the round.

Of the four overnight leaders, only Austrian Christine Wolf managed to stay around among the top contenders with a one-over score of 73 for the day for a two-day total of one-under 143 at tied second, along with defending champion Emily Krstine Pedersen of Denmark. Joint leader Anne-Lise Caudal was a stroke behind.

Local pro Vani Kapoor was the next best-placed Indian with a two-day total of three-over 147. Only five Indians made the cut, applied at 10-over 154, including amateur Diksha Dagar.

Finland’s co-leader Ursula Wikstrom had a disastrous round, hitting eight-over par, including a triple bogey on the 18th sending the ball into mater on her approach shot and then missing the green also, hitting into the rough, instead. She also made a double-bogey on the 6th.

Aditi, who is also in the reckoning for the Ladies European Tour’s Rookie-of-the-Year award (she is currently third) admitted that she was thinking of the same and had a couple more events after this to make the dream come true.

“But right now, my focus is on not dropping any shots on the final day. I have made enough birdies in both rounds so far, let’s see,” she added.

The other two golfers ahead of her on the rookie rankings — Nuria Iturrios of Spain and Angel Yin of USA — finished a disappointing tied-27 and tied-51 respectively but both managed to sneak into the final day's play.

Leading scores (Indians unless specified): 141: Aditi Ashok (72, 69); 143: Belen Mozo (Esp, 73, 70), Emily Kristine Pedersen (Den, 71, 72), Christine Wolf (Aut, 70, 73); 144: Anne-Lise Caudal (Fra, 70, 74), Kiran Matharu (Eng, 71, 73), Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul (Tha, 72, 72); 145: Malene Jorgensen (Den, 72, 73), Supamas Sangchan (Tha, 72, 73), Brittany Lincicome (USA, 75, 70); 146: Stacy Keating (Aus, 74, 72), Florentyna Parker (Eng, 70, 76).