Gurgaon, India: Rookie professional Aditi Ashok was basking in glory after writing her name into the history books after being crowned as the first home winner of the Hero Women’s Indian Open.
The 18-year-old from Bangalore became the first Indian player to win on the Ladies European Tour in one of the most romantic fairytales that the circuit has ever witnessed.
The teenager, who was inspired to become a professional golfer when she watched Laura Davies and Gwladys Nocera compete at the 2007 EMAAR-MGF Ladies Masters in her home city, first played in the Indian Open as a 13-year-old amateur in 2011 and finished eighth the following year.
After winning the LET’s Lalla Aicha Tour School aged 17 in December 2015, she went on to qualify for the first Olympic golf competition at Rio 2016 in August and has continually improved, recording four straight top-10 finishes prior to her maiden victory.
“I’ve had a lot of good finishes at the Indian Open and to finally get the job done feels good, especially as an Indian player in front of my home crowd. It means a lot to win this,” said Ashok, who ended with a 54-hole total of three-under-par at DLF Golf and Country Club, one stroke ahead of Brittany Lincicome and Belen Mozo.
“We’ve had really good sponsors, especially Hero, who’s supported this event and the local Tour for quite some time now. More girls will have a chance to take golf as a career than five years ago. That’s a good change and hopefully with my win there will be a lot more girls wanting to play golf.”
With her earnings of €54,988.20, Ashok leapfrogged Nuria Iturrios and Angel Yin into first position on the current Rookie of the Year standings with two ranking events still to be played in Qatar and Dubai.