India’s Aditi Ashok shot a highly creditable two-under 70 in demanding conditions at the Wildfire Golf Club in the opening round of the Founders Cup.
This was only her second start on the LPGA this season, after missing the cut in her season-opener — the Australian Women’s Open.
She is placed Tied-17th and is three shots behind co-leaders, French Karine Icher and Chella Choi, who carded 67 each. Korea’s Inbee Park and Thai Ariya Jutanugarn shot 68 each to be tied-third with four others.
Though the Wildfire course has yielded some low winning scores over the years, the wind really made scoring difficult. The wind and cooler conditions meant scores were higher than last year.
Aditi, 19, attracted a lot of attention in her LPGA rookie season in 2017 as she finished 82nd in the Race to CME Globe standings of the LPGA Tour. She had to sit out limited field LPGA events in Thailand and Singapore before getting into the Founders Cup.
Aditi had five birdies against three bogeys in her 70. She had a great start with birdies on first two holes, before bogeying the fourth. She made amends with a birdie on the fifth; another came her way on the ninth and she turned in three-under 33 that included birdies on both par-fives.
On the back nine, she dropped shots on 12th and 14th but birdied the 16th to finish at 70.
Icher did not let the unseasonably cool conditions bother her. She made five birdies over her first eight holes. She added birdies on 11 and 14 to get to seven-under. However, she faltered towards the end of her round as the wind picked up and made bogeys on 15 and 18. Icher, playing on LPGA since 2003, has 45 career top-10 finishes, but no wins.
Late in the day, Chella Choi turned in a 67 to share the opening round lead. Choi started with four birdies in her first five holes and was bogey-free through 17 holes until a three-putt at the last.
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