March 19, 2018: Aditi Ashok does not know what it means to turn her back on a golf course. After the first three rounds saw her roll progressively lower on the leaderboard, Aditi saved her best for the last. The young Indian produced three birdies on either side for a brilliant 68 that helped her to T26 in the LPGA – Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Aditi started the day on T50, having begun the week inside the top twenty with a two under 70 in the first round. Scores of 72 and 70 in the next two rounds saw her concede space as the belligerent field pulled clear at the top.
In the event, Aditi showed tremendous grit and spirit to stay the course and produce a commanding performance in the final round.
The result meant that Aditi finished inside the top 30 for the seventh time since beginning her first full season on the LPGA in 2017.
“I played well all week, especially on the final day,” surmised Aditi. “I felt I could have made a couple more putts (sic), but overall it was a good week.”
“I hit the ball pretty good on all days, so that is a positive to take into next week.”
Aditi was up and running from the top of the final round on Sunday. Two birdies in the first three holes were punctuated by a bogey in the middle, but it was amply clear that the teenaged Indian was out with intent.
Another birdie at the 8th took her past the bend in 34 strokes. Three birdies in four holes, from the 12th, took her to 9-under. She conceded a shot at the penultimate hole before signing off for the week with an even four at the 18th.
54-year-old Laura Davies, playing on one good leg, was within one of Park at one point. The British woman sent hopes soaring about a potential win, as Twitter started to sing her chorus.
“It would have been huge,” Davies said about a victory in Phoenix. “I knew what the record was and that I hadn’t won in who knows how long. It was as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” she said about her feelings on No. 1. “I almost shanked my drive and made bogey but then I chipped in for eagle on No. 2 and that calmed me down. I was four over after six holes on Thursday so I’m quite pleased how I fought back.”
But the 29-year-old South Korean star produced four straight birdies from the 12th to put an end to the simmering argument.
“I didn’t expect to win very early [in the season], I mean obviously, after a long break,” Park said. “In Singapore, I felt like my ball striking was quite good I and just needed to work on the putter a little bit. It has worked pretty good this week.”
Victory in Phoenix was the 19th of her career, including seven majors. She has won four of the five majors and also has an Olympic gold medal on the rack. She became the youngest player to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame two years ago. That would qualify for a pretty good career, certainly not just this week.