No second wind: Aditi comes close to making history

Los Angeles, May 1

Indian golfer Aditi Ashok came tantalisingly close to her maiden LPGA win before losing in a three-way playoff at the LA Championship here.

The 25-year-old Indian, who has been playing on the LPGA Tour for seven years now, carded a 4-under 67 in the final round to earn a place in the playoff with Hannah Green (69) and Xiyu Lin (67). But she couldn’t go the distance, registering her first tied-second finish on the world’s biggest ladies tour. Australia’s Green, who had made a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole to join the playoff, ended up winning the title.

“I think overall it was a good week,” Aditi said. “I’ve never played in this position on the LPGA, to be near the lead on the first day and stay there the whole tournament. The competition is just so deep out here. Ten people have a good tournament but only one can win. I’m happy with the way I played,” she added.

Aditi, who finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, started the week with a bogey-free 5-under. After she added a 1-under 70 on the second day, she went into sole lead after 36 holes for the first time in her career. It was also her first cut of the year.

On the third day, she did not score as well but bounced back on Sunday with five birdies and a lone bogey to move to 9-under for the tournament.

“I think I played good today, kind of like the first day, no mistakes. Just the bogey on 17. Feels like that’s the shot I left out there,” Aditi said.

In the playoff, Ashok had a 15-foot putt lip out on the 18th, which ending her bid. Lin made a 12-foot putt and Green made a four-footer to stay in the game. On their second go at the 18th, Lin hit into a bunker and blasted out to some 18 feet but missed the par putt. That left Green to tap in from two feet for her first LPGA win since September 2019.

Aditi is currently leading the Ladies European Tour’s order of merit list, with one win — at the Kenya Ladies Open in February — and three top-10 finishes. The win in Kenya was her first on the tour in five years and third overall. Aditi credited her recent success to her off-season grind.

“I was just working on swing speed in the off-season and gained a lot of yardage. The driving distance helped a lot and just working on being more consistent through the game. I changed my irons back to what I was using a couple of years ago and I’m more comfortable with that,” said Aditi, who has a week off and is due to play next at the Founders Cup.

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