Aug 18: Aditi Ashok continues to write her own history as she gets set for her 19th start in a Major when she tees up at the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie, Scotland on Thursday. The 23-year-old, who missed an Olympic medal by a whisker, has played the most Majors by an Indian – men or women. When she teed up at the ANA Inspiration earlier this year, she equalled Anirban Lahiri’s record of 16 Major starts, but by making the field in the Women’s KPMG, the Evian and now the Open, she has extended her record to 19. Women have five Majors each year, while men have four.
Like Lahiri, she is also from Bengaluru and has been on the LPGA – the women’s equivalent of the PGA Tour – since 2017. And, like Lahiri, she is also searching for her first LPGA title.
She has admitted that it is one of her goals, but with age on her side, there is a lot of time. The Olympic Games in Tokyo showed she can battle it out with the very best when she took on World No. 1 Nelly Korda who won gold and former World No. 1 Lydia Ko who grabbed bronze. Aditi was stranded at fourth.
Aditi had to come through a 18-hole qualifier to make the Open this time. She played alongside 56 other golfers and finished second with 2-under 68 at Panmure Golf Club, a stone’s throw from Carnoustie.
Aditi will play the first round with Brittany Altomare of the US and Sung Hyun Park of Korea and they will tee off from the first tee at 8.20 am.
Talking of her qualifiers at Panmure, Aditi said, “I played well even though I didn’t have a fast start. I missed a few putts on the front 9 but managed to stay patient. Was nice to birdie 14,15,16 in a row coming in and capitalise on the good approaches that I hit.”
On playing at one of the famous Links courses of the world, she added, “I’m excited to play Carnoustie. I have heard a lot about it and always wanted to play in the Women’s Open there since I heard it was our venue for 2021. Hopefully I’ve got adjusted to links golf a bit more now that I played Panmure and shot under par. I’m also super excited that I’ll have my mom (Maheshwari) on my bag for the women’s open at Carnoustie.”
Aditi’s best at a Major has been T-22 in 2018. But now with the confidence of the Olympic campaign and a fine round at the Links at Panmure, this could be a different week for Aditi.
Major champion, Olympic gold medallist and World number one Korda heads an international field of more than 75 champions at the AIG Women’s Open.
The 23-year-old arrived in Scotland as one of the stand-out performers after having won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in June. She then added the Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020. She leads a talented field comprising no less than 29 Major champions and worldwide winners of more than 400 titles on the LPGA, JLPGA and Ladies European Tour.
Korda is one of 38 Americans teeing it up this week alongside older sister Jessica and Major champions Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson.
Joining Korda as players to have reached the top of the Rolex Women’s Golf World Rankings are six former number ones including AIG Women’s Open winners Stacy Lewis (2013), Inbee Park (2015) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2016), as well as Korea’s Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu. Fresh from setting a course record of nine-under-par 63 in the final round of the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dumbarnie Links last week, in-form Lydia Ko completes the list as she seeks to add to her two Major championships.
England are represented with 11 hopefuls including 2018 champion Georgia Hall, Charley Hull and Mel Reid, while Ireland’s chances are spearheaded by Leona McGuire and Wales represented by Chloe Williams.
The field is 144 players, including 15 players from the final qualifiers at Panmure, and they are from 32 countries.