Aditi Ashok leads by four after first round in Magical Kenya Ladies Open  

Aditi Ashok. File Pic

Nairobi, Feb 2: Aditi Ashok, a three-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, started her 2023 campaign in style at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open on Thursday. Aditi, the first Indian to win on the LET at the 2016 Hero Women’s Indian Open, was 6-under on the first day at the Par-73 Vipingo Range in the opening event of the 2023 Ladies European Tour season.

Aditi was four shots clear of seven players, including Thai April Angurasaranee who bogeyed the last hole to fall to 2-under. The six players at 2-under and tied for third place were Spaniards Ana Pelaez Trivino and Marta Sanz Barrio, Virginia Elena Carta of Italy, Scotland’s Kyle Henry, Swede Isabella Deilert and England’s Alice Hewson.

Among the other Indians, Amandeep Drall, who finished second and came close to winning the Hero Women’s Indian last year, is 1-over 74 was tied 17th. Amateur Avani Prashanth (75) was T-25th, Diksha Dagar (78) was T-50, Vani Kapoor and Seher Atwal with 81 each were T-77th.

With conditions becoming tougher as the day wore on late in the evening players started dropping shots. However, Aditi did very well to get pars in her last five holes and finish with a superb 6-under 67.

Aditi plans to play both the Ladies PGA Tour in the US and the Ladies European Tour this season. Aditi’s whose successes include a win at the St. Rules Trophy at St Andrews, the Home of Golf, started on the first and found her first birdie on the second hole, but she gave it back on the next hole. She then hit a fine patch with birdies on fifth and sixth and landed an eagle on Par-5 seventh and added yet another birdie on ninth to turn in 5-under 32 at the par-73 Vipingo Range course. On the back nine she birdied 11th and 13th but dropped a shot in between on Par-3 12th. She was 6-under after 13 and then parred out the last five.

India’s talented amateur Avani Prashanth was going great guns as she was 2-under after three and she was 2-under through 11. After that she seemed to lose the momentum as she bogeyed third and double bogeyed fifth and eighth before closing with a birdie on ninth for a 2-over 75 and tied 30th place.

It was a roller coaster of a round for Diksha Dagar, who after beginning on the back nine bogeyed three times between 15th and the 18th. She then double bogeyed the first but birdied the second. Then from the sixth it was another wild ride with a birdie on sixth, double bogey on seventh, bogey on eighth and a consolation birdie on ninth for a round of 5-over 78 and was tied 55th.

The Vipingo Range has five Par-5s giving the players enough chances to pick shots, but some of the Par-3s and other holes are very challenging.

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