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Updated: November 30, 2012 22:40 IST

Aditi Ashok in joint lead

Vijay Lokapally
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SWINGING IT RIGHT: India's Aditi Ashok was at her best as she carded a three under 69 to share the lead with two others on Friday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
The Hindu SWINGING IT RIGHT: India's Aditi Ashok was at her best as she carded a three under 69 to share the lead with two others on Friday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Her goal is to compete at the Royal & Ancient Club of St. Andrew’s, the home of golf. On Friday, Aditi Ashok took a step in that direction when she emerged the joint leader on day one of the Hero women’s Indian Open at the DLF Country Club here.

She is 14, an amateur, but a pro in her own way.

Aditi shared the spotlight with two veterans from the Ladies European Tour, 30-year-old Becky Brewerton of Wales and 42-year-old Stefania Croce of Italy. The trio achieved a three-under 69.

Aditi, who carded eight and five over to exit early last year, shot five birdies against two bogeys on Friday.

Stefania, on her fist appearance here, impressed with five birdies against two bogeys, the highlight being an eagle on the par-5 sixth. She was five under par after 15 holes but dropped two shots in her last three.

“I’m happy and it’s nice to be up there after round one,” said Stefania.

Aditi has obviously worked hard to get here. “I have practiced from the beginning of the year and I’m happy with my performance today. It was exceptional for me.

“I hit a lot of greens and created lot of birdie opportunities. Keeping a good eye on the play helped me,” said the ninth standard student from Frank Anthony Public School.

Support from parents and teachers at school has helped Aditi pursue her dream. “I get little time from golf to think of anything else,” said Aditi as she put her passion in perspective.

Aditi got her putting right this windy day. “It was not just about hitting. It was about making my putts. Playing a pro event last year gave me the experience and the confidence to play this round.

“I didn’t get carried away. The conditions here have been good and I like fast greens. I enjoyed putting today.”

She arrived with a simple mindset — not to set targets, but take it one shot at a time. “As an amateur, I know the pros are better but now I know I too can get there, can play as good as them. I can be among the top pros of the world,” said the confident golfer.

The scores: Becky Brewerton (Wal), Stefania Croce (Ita), Aditi Ashok 69; Stacey Keating, Bree Arthur (both Aus), Liebelej Lawrence (Lux), Florentyna Parkar (Eng), Jaruporn Plakawong Na Ayuthaya (Tha), Becky Morgan (Wal) 70; Celene Palomar (Fra), Nontaya Srisawang (Tha), Tania Elosegui (Esp), Walailak Satarak (USA), Laura Davies (Eng) and Stacy Lee Bregman (Zaf) 71.

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