It’s a transparent indicator of ways neatly Aditi Ashok performed at Vipingo Ridge in successful the Magical Kenya Women’s Open that two of her perfect photographs all through the week, did not even finally end up making birdies for her.
You know a golfer is directly to one thing very particular when that occurs. It way the participant is in a zone the place she or he can communicate to the ball and command it to do issues. It’s a spot each golfer needs to be, however only a few can succeed in.
The 24-year-old from Bengaluru was once in that zone on all 4 days.
“The first was a drive on the 16th hole (a 415-yard par-4) during the third round, because I had to hit a blind shot over trees on a hole that had water on the left and bushes on the right. Just hit a really good drive that cut the corner, which was proof that I can hit drives like that under tough situations,” remembers Aditi.
“And then there was the approach shot on the 18th hole in the same round. I was bogey-free on a tough day and didn’t want to spoil that. I just hit what was a perfect fade (a shot that shapes from left to right) into a right-to-left wind with a 7-iron.
“I didn’t birdie either of the holes, but they were definitely the best shots of mine during the week.”
It also showed that all parts of her game are on song as she starts a new season. The year 2022 was not the best of her career. She barely managed to keep her card on the LPGA – finishing 99th in the Race to CME Globe Point List when the top-100 retain their playing privilege. And her category on the Ladies European Tour would not have been good enough to get her into many tournaments.
“I think all parts of my game were above average, which helped. Also, I played well in the windy conditions so I guess course management and club choices were good all week. I am most pleased with my driving and putting,” said Ashok, who improved to No173 in the Rolex Rankings, having dropped to 195 through 2022.
Putting has always been a cornerstone of Ashok’s game. She is probably one of the best putters in the game – and that list includes both men and women. But driving has let her down in the recent past. As was evident during the Olympics, the bout with COVID just before her trip to Tokyo stole precious yards from her game.
“Throughout the offseason, I worked on getting back some of the speed I’ve lost in the last couple years and just being fitter in general,” said the four-time winner on LET, including the 2017 Hero Women’s Indian Open.
“I worked a lot on driving, which clearly showed in Kenya. The Par 5s played a lot easier than usual as I could reach them in two, which always helps in making birdies.”
The immediate reward is that she now gets into the tournaments in Morocco this week, followed by the $5 million Aramco Saudi Women’s International.
Ashok starts her LPGA season later in March, but the early win – even if on the LET – has now made things a lot easier, especially on her schedule.
“My status wasn’t very good on the LET and I needed an invite to get into Kenya. So yes, it definitely eased some of the pressure in playing more events on the LET. It gives me more flexibility to plan my schedule and play more on the LPGA if I want.”
Ashok also rediscovered some of her mojo through her new association with Hyundai, where they have been conducting camps and junior inter-school tournaments for more than a thousand kids in various cities across the country towards the latter part of the year.
It’s a journey that Ashok has personally experienced – the pain of struggling to get the right equipment, facilities and playing opportunities – and she is delighted to be able to give back to the sport.
“I don’t know about the kids, but that was a lot of fun for me,” stated Ashok. “It was once simply nice in an effort to have interaction with the youngsters and chat with them.
“Not a large number of other folks put money into junior golfing in India, so I’m grateful to Hyundai for doing that. It’s a super initiative and I stay up for seeing it develop within the coming years. It’s excellent for the youngsters, and I feel it is also excellent for me.”