Two-time Olympian Aditi Ashok coasted to her fourth career Ladies European Tour title with a facile nine-shot victory in the Magical Kenya Ladies Open on Sunday even as Anirban Lahiri and Shubhankar Sharma turned in profitable performances at the PIF Saudi International near Jeddah.
Winner of the 2016 Hero Women’s Indian Open in her maiden professional season, Aditi was in dominant mode in Kenya, winning by an unusually large nine-shot margin over a field that included a number of past LET winners
Making it a good weekend for India, Bangalore-based amateur and two-time national champion Avani Prashanth also had a week to remember with a top-ten display behind Aditi at the East African coastal venue of Vipingo Ridge.
It was the teenager’s best display on the LET following a shared 12th placing at the 2022 Hero Women’s Indian Open and a tied 66th at the German Amundi Masters in July last year. Avani was in fact one of a handful to break par on a tough final day in Kenya and finished in a tie for ninth place (75-75-73-72) on the par-73 course.
Aditi’s was a triumphant march right from the first day and even though she had a one-over-par 74 on Sunday, the lead created over the first three days with cards of 67, 70 and 69 was enough for a 12-under 280 aggregate that fetched the Bangalorean a 45,000-Euro winner’s cheque.
It was also Aditi’s first win on the LET since the 2017 Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open in Abu Dhabi back in 2017 and her fourth overall besides the 2016 Hero Women’s Indian Open and the 2016 Qatar Ladies Open.
And as she told the LET website later, “It has been a great week, it’s proof to myself that my off-season and hard work has paid off.
“I think the last few holes, I didn’t make many good swings but it’s okay, I guess. It was good to have my dad on the bag – three of my wins have been with him caddying, but not just him there’s my mum back home and I have worked a lot with my coach and my fitness team.
“All of us have put in a lot of work over two months just to get back to my original strength level and this is the first week I’ve felt like I’ve been back to where I was a couple of years ago which is pretty good.”
Alice Hewson of England and Thailand’s April Angurasaranee finished in a tie for second place on three-under-par in the LET season-opener while Australia’s Gabriela Ruffels was fourth on two-under-par.
At the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club near Jeddah, Lahiri and Sharma both brought in final day rounds of four under par 66 to finish in a tie for 12th place that was worth $70,500 per head and also joint eighth place on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.
At the top, Mexico and LIV Golf star Abraham Ancer survived a mid-round blip to pocket a winner’s cheque of a million dollars at the $5 million event powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers that was also the Asian Tour season opener.
Lahiri, India’s sole representative on the LIV golf roster who has shifted base from Florida to Dubai had a bogey-free card of 66 on Sunday while Sharma had five birdies against one bogey in his final 18 holes. Both aggregated nine under par 271s on the par-70 seaside course.
At the Hero Dubai Desert Classic two weeks ago, Sharma missed the cut making it a good recovery in Saudi Arabia on his part, while Shiv Kapur finished in a tie for 56th place and Rashid Khan was well down the order.
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today