August 18, 2016: The girl is an incredible golfer even as a teenager. The youngest golfer in Rio produced a round of solidity that betrayed her young age to solidify her presence among the early contenders. Aditi Ashok made a tricky eight footer at the 18th to keep her sheet clean with a fine 68. Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand went around the Olympic Course in 65 strokes to gain a one shot lead over Koreans Inbee Park and Seiyoung Kim.
Aditi is well inside the top 10, with all of them within three shots of each other. The 18 year old Indian played an incredibly composed round of golf to start her Olympic campaign.
After making par at the first hole, a par-5, Aditi gained a shot at the par-4 second hole. She carried that advantage through to the end of the front nine, making seven consecutive pars.
The back nine has been a tricky challenge for golfers, but Aditi would have none of that. She made birdies at the 10th and 14th holes to inch up the leaderboard.
Aditi ended the day with four straight pars to complete her round. She has shown remarkable poise and confidence even though this is her first ever experience, of a competition at this level, with a strong field of international golfers.
“I’ve played the Youth Olympics, as well. I’ve kind of had that experience of playing that and it made me want to play in the Olympics as well. This is my rookie year,” reminded Aditi. “Getting the experience and playing for India and trying to win a medal for my country doesn’t get better than that.
“It would be huge for women’s golf in India, because we don’t have that many girls playing and this will definitely boost the popularity of the game in India and that’s what we need. So I hope I can do that,” added a confident Aditi.
Aditi’s stats were off the charts – 100% driving accuracy, 83% greens in regulation and 100% on scrambling underlining her solid performance on the first day of Olympic golf.
Considering that her numbers were the best among all the women inside the top ten, Aditi might even have reason to feel disappointed. Perhaps she may enjoyed a few more birdies if she wasn’t conceding anywhere between 20 to 50 yards to the field on driving distance.
Aditi is in a group of four women lying seventh – Azahara Munoz, Lexi Thompson and Charley Hull each shot 68 on the first day.