August 20, 2016: As the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro draws to an eventful closure, Aditi Ashok completed national duties for India with a battling round of 76 on Saturday. The 18 year old golfer fought valiantly but a pair of bogeys on her first nine and three surrendered shots on the home stretch left her lying T52 midway through an incomplete final round of the Rio Olympics.
UPDATE – Aditi Ashok finished in a tie for 41st place. It was a creditable outing for a young golfer ranked 486 in the world.
The Indian has displayed remarkable composure on her debut on a truly international stage with a mature performance this week. Aditi was lying firmly inside the top ten through the first two rounds.
She shot an even 68 in both the rounds as she got off to a promising start in Rio de Janeiro. But just as hopes began to surge for a medal, rough winds struck the Reserva de Marapendi in Barra da Tijuca.
Aditi struggled for balance and control as the gusts robbed her rhythm on Friday. She struggled to a painful 79 as she slipped to 2-over through 54 holes.
Given the resilience of the young golfer, there was still hope that she might finish with a strong round to end her campaign. Unfortunately though, the weather remained patchy and Aditi conceded three bogeys and a double bogey to finish at 7-over 291.
The organisers had scheduled players from both the 1st and 10th tees to try and hasten closure of the event, considering the poor weather forecast for Saturday.
Aditi started her round at the 10th tee, getting off the blocks with a couple of pars. But she slipped deeper over par when she made bogey at the par-4 12th and the par-3 14th.
She steadied the deck reaching the turn without any further damage, with four straight pars. Aditi needed 38 shots for her first nine holes.
Her third bogey of the day came at the par-5 first hole. A double bogey at the par-4 third hole compounded the misery of the young girl, but she showed great character from there.
She ended the tournament with six consecutive pars, going home again in 38 shots, ending the week with a 76. While the ending may seem disappointing, one needs to credit the performance of the young girl on her maiden Olympic experience.
Aditi has several years of golf in front of her and perhaps many more Olympics lay in store. She will certainly be wiser for her experience in Rio.