10 January 2019: The wait is over for Indian golf fans. The Christmas and New Year thaw will end today when Aditi Ashok tees off at the 10th tee at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi. Across the oceans, Anirban Lahiri flew a 31-hour marathon from Pune to Honolulu for just his second appearance in the Sony Open.
In a departure from the norm, the FBM Ladies Open features a pro-am draw. Aditi will play the first round alongside J Gupta, the two women teeing off at 1336hrs on Thursday. Aditi arrived in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday evening after spending the new year at her home in Bengaluru.
Anirban fans should catch some early winks, as the 150th ranked Indian will tee off at 0430am on Friday for his first round at the Wai’alae County Club in Honolulu. Anirban will also play off the tenth tee with Whee Kim and Alex Prugh. Anirban ended 2018 on a positive note with a top ten finish in the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
While Anirban will look to erase the pain of a missed cut on his last trip to Hawaii, Aditi has some fond memories of her experiences at the FBM Ladies Open. She had collected her third Ladies European Tour victory at the event in November 2017.
“It feels great to be back. I’ve had three wins on the Ladies European Tour but this is only the second time I’m defending. I’m actually looking forward to the experience and it’s great being back at Saadiyat. I really like this golf course,” said Aditi.
“I think it looks like a course where you can score but it does have some demanding approach shots and it’s more than meets the eye. When you first see it, you think there’s nothing to it, but then you realise you’ve got to be sharp with your iron game and precise to not drop shots. That’s what I like about it.”
Last year Aditi collected three top tens in five appearances on the LET, having committed to a full calendar on the LPGA in the USA. The Indian is currently ranked 100th in the world and is eager to step it up in her third year on the LPGA.
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