Historic first for India as Aditi, Sharmila set to tee off at LPGA

While teen prodigy Aditi Ashok earned a special status for the LPGA tournament, Sharmila Nicollet topped a Twitter poll to gain one of the sponsors’ berth in the USD 1.5 million event.

Aditi Ashok has so far played five LPGA events and made cuts in four.   -  AP

This week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey will mark a historic moment in Indian women’s golf as Aditi Ashok and Sharmila Nicollet will be teeing up at the event for the first time.

Aditi, winner of the Hero Women’s Indian Open in her Rookie Year as a professional in 2016, has earned a special status on the LPGA.

Sharmila topped a Twitter poll — that had one golfer each from North America, South America, Europe and Asia — to gain one of the sponsors’ berth in the USD 1.5 million event. She had been a part of the Ladies European Tour before losing her card due to injuries and loss of form.

Aditi has so far played five LPGA events and made cuts in four. Her best finish has been tied-42 so far, but she is steadily adapting to the conditions in the USA, where she has started playing regularly now.

Sharmila has played a few seasons on LET and the odd LPGA events many years ago. Now, she is looking to regain her form and make a mark on both LET and LPGA.

A year ago, Anna Nordqvist shot a final-round 64 to tie the tournament scoring record set by Annika Sorenstam (-17) and held off Haru Nomura by one shot to defend her title at the 2016 ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented.

The participation of 144 players, including 13 of the top-21 in the Rolex Rankings, makes it an extremely strong field.