Golf at Tokyo Olympics: Late charge helps Aditi Ashok retain joint second spot

Aditi shot a bogey-free five-under 66 for an aggregate of 133, a tally matched by the Danish duo of Nanna Koerstz Madsen (64) and Emily Kristine Pedersen (63).

Aditi Ashok of India hits a tee shot on the 16th hole during the second round of the women's golf event at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Thursday   -  AP

Birdies on three of the last four holes saw Aditi Ashok retain the joint-second spot after two rounds of Olympic Games golf in Tokyo on Thursday.

Aditi shot a bogey-free five-under 66 for an aggregate of 133, a tally matched by the Danish duo of Nanna Koerstz Madsen (64) and Emily Kristine Pedersen (63). America’s Nelly Korda, who shared the second spot with Aditi at the start of the day, fired a stunning Olympic course record of 62 to open a four-stroke lead at 129.

Diksha Dagar, the second Indian in the fray, followed her first-round 76 with a 72 to share the 53rd spot at 148.

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Aditi’s consistent showing so far were reminders of her resolute performance in the first two rounds in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Making her debut in the Games, Aditi had rounds of 68 to be tied eighth at the halfway stage. However, she faded away with rounds of 79 and 76 and eventually finished 41st.

Meanwhile, a potential Pacific storm that could bring torrential rain and wind to the area is threatening Saturday’s scheduled final round. This could reduce the competition to 54 holes. The officials intend to continue as planned and monitor the storm before making a final decision.

Talking about the improved scores on Day Two, Aditi said, “This whole week there's going to be so many girls making birdies, especially because the weather's warm and the conditions are favourable. I think, whatever holes I get to play, whether it's 54 or 72, I'm not really going to sit on anything, I'm just going to try and be as aggressive and make more birdies.”

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Asked whether a podium-finish had crossed her mind, Aditi responded, “For sure. Everyone's thinking about it and it's definitely at the back of my mind. Once on the course, I'm not really thinking much about it. I'm just trying to hit the best shot I can hit.”

Responding to the visibility of the event in India, Aditi said, “Hopefully people back home are watching it a lot more. A few of my friends are staying up to watch, which is cool. The Olympics are huge. In a regular event people just wouldn’t follow it as much, even if it was a LPGA event or a major. So, I think the buzz has been good so far.”

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