Mar 12, 2018: Aditi Ashok is in Phoenix, Arizona for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. It is her third start this season with a top ten finish already on her bag in the Canberra Classic this February. The 19-year-old Indian spent her time off preparing for a renewed battle for greater success on the LPGA.
Aditi enjoyed a moderate season in her rookie year on the LPGA. Armed with the experience of playing in America for the past two years, Aditi is confident about a successful season on the elite circuit. The Founders Cup is followed by the Kia Classic as the women prepare for ANA Inspiration at the end of March.
Golfing Indian caught up with Aditi, just before she embarked on her journey to the United States.
Congrats Aditi on a good rookie season on the LPGA Tour.
GI: Based on your experience of playing your first full season there, can you describe why it is that the LPGA is in a league of its own?
AA: Most of the top 100 golfers in the Rolex rankings are playing on the LPGA. So every week is a competition between the best in the world. Also the bigger purses attract the best players all year which makes it more competitive.
GI: You enjoyed a great finish to the season. Winner in Abu Dhabi, T5 in Dubai, T13 in India and an appearance in the CME. How satisfying was it to finish on a high after a demanding season on the LPGA?
AA: My rookie year on the LPGA was demanding and yes, I did play better towards the end of the season. Getting another win on the Ladies European Tour in Abu Dhabi was exciting and making it to CME as a rookie felt good too. My year on the LPGA could have been better but I know the experiences will help me next season.
GI: Is it fair to say, one of the challenges last year was consistency? As a rookie, you played some great rounds of golf, but stitching four together seemed like a struggle. Does it look this way from your eye view too, or do you have a different perspective?
AA: To be able to contend on the LPGA you do have to play four good rounds and just one average round can set you back in the field and take away chances of contending. But I feel I played consistent all year because even in the few events where I did miss cuts, I didn’t necessarily play bad but I was missing them because of a couple bad shots that took away my momentum during the rounds. Overall I’d look back at it as a year that helped me learn how to adapt my game to the variety of courses we got to play all year.
GI: Can you discuss a little bit about your experience now of playing on different types of grass. What do you see as the key differences between playing on the LET and LPGA from the standpoint of the type of grass and layouts?
AA: One of the changes for me was adjusting my pace on the greens. The greens are generally faster on the LPGA and in some events my pace on long range putts could have been better. But with respect to layout, I would say the LPGA tournaments are set up much longer than the LET and that tests my ball striking every week. The pin placements are also tougher and this can sometimes be challenging especially since I’m not one of the longest hitters, thereby demanding consistency with mid/long irons to get enough birdie chances every week.
GI: Can we understand how you may have made time to work on your game during these past few weeks? Can you please share some specific insights and how these might help your chances in 2018?
AA: I have had a pretty good offseason. I enjoyed a bit of relaxing but it does get boring without golf. I changed my irons from Titleist AP2 to AP3 and I like the way they look and feel. I am also hitting a little longer so I have been working a lot on those clubs. But I haven’t worked on anything drastically different from how I’m used to preparing.
GI: Away from golf, what are your interests? Were you able to meet and spend time with your friends during your time at home recently?
AA: It was good to be home for a while and enjoy that feeling. I miss Indian food a lot when I travel so I try and catch up with my taste buds whenever I’m home. Apart from golf, I watch a lot of movies, listen to music, read books in that order.
GI: Can you please share a few details about your scheduling of events for 2018?
AA: About scheduling, now that I have full status on the LPGA it will definitely help me plan my season better. I know most of the golf courses and have a better idea of what to expect at those events. I also want to focus and perform well at the majors. I’d still like to play on the LET also and try to better my best (2nd position on the order of merit in 2016).