This time last year, Aditi Ashok was ruing her putting that had let her down on the final day of the Women's Indian Open golf tournament at the DLF Golf and Country Club here. Aditi had finished as the best Indian at tied-13th, albeit as an amateur.
On Sunday, the 18-year old made sure she sank the four-foot putt on the final hole to become the first Indian to lift the title, becoming the first Indian to win on the Ladies European Tour as well. Typically, the Bangalore girl did not show much emotion after creating history barring a slight wave of hand and the customary hug to her competitors.
“I have to get my scores recorded first please,” she said, walking off to the scoring room past the crowd of people wanting to shake her hand. "I think I am always calm. I was sort of nervous going into the back nine but then I made a birdie on the 10th and then got a good, lucky chance on the 18th. I was unlucky on the front nine, so the course kind of gave it back to me,” she said later, composed after the win.
Her performance, though, was anything but subdued. She had done the hard work in the past two days without being flashy or exceptional. “I have made enough birdies over the first two rounds but right now my focus is on not dropping any shots on the final day,” she had said after taking lead for the first time on Saturday.
It's been quite a year for the pro who has grown as much as a person as she has as a player. Having already become India's only woman Olympian golfer, Aditi, who practices at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) course back home in Bangalore, has had an impressive rookie year since turning professional in January, 2016.
She has had four top-ten finishes, leads the Rookie of the Year rankings at the moment and, compared to the slightly unsure teenager who was keen on only improving her game with her every outing in the company of bigger names, has now become confident enough to talk about her chances of getting into the LPGA, the pinnacle of golfing excellence.
On a course that is considered among the trickiest on the circuit and definitely in the country, simply holding shots was easier said than done. To Aditi's credit, however, she managed to level out her bad shots with some good ones to stay par for the day.
With her opponents showing nerves, that was enough.
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