India’s Aditi Ashok came agonisingly close to a historic Olympic medal at the Tokyo 2020 in women’s individual strokeplay (golf), finishing fourth. Aditi finished 15 under and needed a birdie in the 72nd hole to force bronze medal playoff with Lydia Ko, but that was not to be as , Ko got a par score on the 18th, forcing a silver medal play off herself with Japan’s Inami Mone. For Ashok, who had finished Rio 2016 games - debut for golf - in 41st out of 60, this is a phenomenal result irrespective of the hearbreak at the end. She carded 67, 66, 68 and 68 in the four rounds.
Heading in to the final day and of the event in Round 4, Aditi Ashok held her own against World No.1 Nelly Korda and former world number one Lydia Ko. In round 3 she had carded a three-under 68 in the third to hold on to the second position and maintained the top4 position throughout. This is Aditi’s second Olympic appearance. She had finished tied 41st in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro edition. Aditi said since she played only a few tournaments in May-June and also got infected by the coronavirus, has probably lost distance off the tee.
My putting wasn’t as good today as the first two days. So those couple par putts that were like the one on 12 and the one on 18, helped because I knew my putting wasn’t that good today compared to the first two.’ Aditi said she recoeverd from COVID-19 but it did affect her health ‘It took a little bit of strength out of me. I was never this short. I was always short but not like 50 behind Nelly and 50 behind Nanna. But apart from the distance this year has been kind of the best I’ve had with my short game.’ Aditi was also candid about the following golf back home.
“Nobody really follows golf as much. It’s not that they know about it and don’t follow it, it’s just they don’t know much about the sport to know that a major is more prestigious than the Olympics. And whenever the Olympics comes around it’s always because we had a lot of sports where we were actually really good, like hockey, where we had, we used to win gold medals all the time. With golf being in (at Olympics) the second time I think people are a lot more aware and trying to follow it a lot more,” she added.
This was Aditi’s second Olympics. Aditi Ashok was first attracted to golf when at the age of five, she noticed the lush-green course at the Karnataka Golf Association. And once she accompanied her father to the course one morning, there was no looking back. She also got full support from the family. In the 2016 Rio Olympics, she had her father as the caddie. In Tokyo Olympics 2020, she has her mother on the bag in her hunt for a medal. At the age of 9, this young golfer won her first tournament and at the age of 12, she became a part of the national team. Aditi Ashok won her first state-level trophies, the Karnataka Junior and South Indian Junior Championships as a 13-year-old in 2011. In what was her most impressive feat then, she also went on to win the National Amateur title that year. Aditi is the first Indian to win the ‘Ladies European Tour’ title. Aditi had achieved the distinction of being the youngest golfer to compete in the Olympics at the Rio Games in 2016.