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Indian Open golf: Aditi Ashok will aim to defend title

The prize: Carlota Ciganda, Beth Allen, Aditi Ashok, Belen Mozo and Gaurika Bishnoi pose with the trophy.  

Aditi Ashok held centre-stage among a select set of competitors ahead of the Hero Women’s Indian Open which begins at the DLF Golf Club here from Friday. Aditi will be defending the title in a field of 114 players from 25 countries.

Even as concerns regarding the heavy smog that has engulfed the National Capital Region (NCR) grew, the ladies looked forward to a “challenging” tournament, now in its 11th edition. The field includes 17 Indians apart from four of the top five golfers who figured in the Ladies European Tour’s 2016 Order of Merit

“Focus would be on where to hit the ball. Hope we can see clear weather from Friday,” said Carlota Ciganda, ranked World No. 20, as she hinted at playing with a mask.

Aditi, fresh from her Fatima Bin Mubarak Ladies Open win in Abu Dhabi last week, said, “I don’t avoid media but it’s just that I have been busy travelling. I’m always available for comments. I play golf because I enjoy it. Money is always secondary to me.

“People assume that I like this golf course, and I do, but it’s not that easy and my chances are the same as everyone else.”

Knowing the course does help and Gaurika Bishnoi, the leader on Hero Order of Merit on the domestic Tour, endorsed Aditi’s view. “It helps if you have local knowledge. I have an edge because I have been playing here for eight years.”

Reflecting on the title last year, Aditi said, “The win set the bar for me and then I won two in a row. Qualifying for the LPGA was good. The level of experience I gain is invaluable and I’m one of the first girls from India to go there and do it.”

Beth Allen, the World No. 130 from United States, rated the course “tricky” but felt “confident.” Asked to speak on Aditi, she said, “I think it’s phenomenal what Aditi has done for this country. There have always been great players from here, like Simi Mehra, who has been around for a long time, but it’s really impressive what Aditi has done and I think she’s an inspiration.”

Kavita Singh, president of the Women’s Golf Association of India, summed it up well.

“I will be happy if girls take golf as a profession and we can see 50 girls in this tournament in the next decade.”

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 8:41:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/indian-open-golf-aditi-ashok-will-aim-to-defend-title/article20005324.ece

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