Meet India’s rising starlet – Aditi Ashok

INDIA’s leading lady Aditi Ashok has made giant strides since first picking up a golf club at the tender age of five. The 18-year-old made history by becoming the first Indian golfer to play in the Asian Youth games (2013), the Youth Olympic Games (2014) and the Asian Games (2014) and earlier this year represented her country at Golf’s return to the Olympic Games in Rio, where she was the youngest competitor in the field. Late last year she earned her Ladies European Tour card at Lalla Aicha Tour School with a 23-under-par winning score, which included a course-record 62, at the age of just 17. So far in her rookie season she has posted six top-ten finishes. Worldwide Golf caught up with the youngster ahead of her debut in the Qatar Ladies Open later this month.

Q: This is your first season on the Ladies European Tour – which players have you grown close to and how have you adjusted to life on Tour?

Aditi Ashok: I’ve adjusted pretty well and that’s probably because I’d played quite a lot of LET events as an amateur. Playing as a pro is quite different and I think I’m getting used to it now. I’ve played quite a few rounds this year paired with Isabelle Boineau so we’ve become quite close. I also know many of the rookies on tour because I’ve played a lot of amateur golf with most of them.

 

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - 18/08/2016: Aditi Ashok of India and her father/caddie on the second hole during the second round at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Reserva de Marapendi Golf Course, Barra Da Tijuca, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Tristan Jones/IGF)

Q: You say your parents are the biggest influence on your career – how does having your father  as your caddy help you when you’re competing with the best players in the world?

Aditi Ashok: Apart from me, he knows my game better than anyone, so having him caddie for me really helps me a lot. In tough situations he can give me some good input because he’s seen me play from a young age, and that’s a big advantage.

 

Q: What would you say is the strongest part of your game and is there anything that you have been working on recently to ensure a strong finish to the season?

Aditi Ashok: I would say the strongest part of my game is my short game, my putting in particular. I’ve been working on my accuracy with my irons – the more chances I can give myself, the more I’ll be able to score.

 

Q: In between tournaments on Tour, what activities do you do to relax or take your mind off golf?

Aditi Ashok: I watch a lot of movies, listen to music and sometimes read books. I really like Harry Potter but I can read anything.

 

Q: How are you adjusting to all the travel that comes with being a professional golfer?

Aditi Ashok: I did travel quite a bit as an amateur but as a pro I’m travelling a lot more, although I’m getting used to it. It’s been good over the last few events with the tournaments being in Asia, so I haven’t had to travel as much as I did when I played in Europe.

 

 

Q: Would you say that representing India at the Olympics is the highlight of your career so far?

Aditi Ashok: Yes, that was one of the biggest moments of my career so far and I was top 10 after two days in Rio, so that gave me a really good feeling.

 

Q: How excited are you about playing in the Qatar Ladies Open and have you played at Doha Golf Club or in the Middle East before?

Aditi Ashok: I’m really excited to be playing at Qatar, because there was just one event in the Middle East and now there are three. I played in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in 2014 and finished tied 38th, but I haven’t played at Doha Golf Club. I’ve heard a lot about it so I’m hoping for the best.

 

20/12/2015. Ladies European Tour 2015. Lalla Aicha Q School 2015, Samanah Golf Club, Marrakech, Morocco. December 18-22. Aditi Ashok of India points to her course equalling record of 62 at after the third round at Samanah Golf Club. Credit: Tristan Jones

 

Q: You set a new course record at Q-School when you earned your playing card for the LET, what tips do you have for handling pressure out on the golf course?

Aditi Ashok: Every day we play with the pressure but I always fall back on my routine. It’s something I practice every day warming up so it’s always good to have a sound procedure and follow that throughout my round, particularly with pressure shots and when you’re on the last hole.

 

Q: Who were your golf heroes growing up? Did you watch golf on TV?

Aditi Ashok:  There was a lot of men’s golf but not much women’s golf. It’s slowly getting better but it needs to be a lot better. I have watched a lot of women’s events and my idol was Annika Sorenstam. On the men’s side, I used to like Tiger Woods as well.

 

Q: Three top ten finishes this year, what do you put that progress down to?

Aditi Ashok: It’s been good so far. I’m pleased that I’ve been so consistent. I’m trying to get into the top three or win a tournament but I can’t complain. It’s been a good season for me.

 

Q: Women’s golf in India is in its infancy – does it put you under any pressure that you are leading the way for the game in your country?

Aditi Ashok: I’m well aware that I’m one of the only ones from my country playing out on Tour so I feel I have a big responsibility on my shoulders but I just enjoy my golf and I try to do my best at every tournament I play.

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