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Sarath Ramesh Kuniyl
Sarath Ramesh Kuniyl

GOLF

Aditi Ashok—on the right course

aditi-ashok

A lot can happen over breakfast. Like the birth of a champion. No, Aditi Ashok wasn't born at a breakfast table, but Aditi the Golfer was. About 13 years ago, five-year-old Aditi went to have breakfast with her parents at a restaurant across the Karnataka Golf Association in Bengaluru. The family knew nothing about golf and when they saw people hitting balls, they decided to drop in to check out the game. And thus started Aditi's journey.

With the recent back-to-back titles on the Ladies European Tour (LET)—Indian Open and Qatar Ladies Open—and a maiden Olympic appearance in Rio earlier this year, Aditi is fast emerging as India's future in women's golf.

The Bengaluru teen is no flash in the pan. She picked up the golf club at five and two years later she was playing in junior tournaments with boys. A student of The Frank Anthony Public School, Aditi turned pro in January this year after a sensational amateur career.

She is a three-time national junior champion (2012, 2013, 2014) and a two-time national amateur champion (2011, 2014). She is the only Indian golfer to have played the Asian Youth Games (2013), Youth Olympic Games (2014) and Asian Games (2014). She is the youngest and first Indian to win LET's Lalla Aicha Tour School 2016. She has six international wins and 17 titles.

What helped a young Aditi was the unwavering support of her parents—father Gudlamani and mother Mash—and the Bangalore Golf Club and Karnataka Golf Association. Her father, in fact, has been her caddie, including at the Olympics (At the Indian Open, however, it was Jesus Mozo from Spain, whose sister Belen was a competitor in the tournament). The contribution of her Malaysian coach Steven Giuliano (who has been with her since 2012), and strength and conditioning coach Nicolas Cabaret from France, too, has been instrumental.

A win in the Dubai tournament will help her clinch the Rookie of the Year award. It will be a monumental achievement for a player who turned pro only a few months ago. But an even bigger achievement will be if the Indian teenager wins the LPGA Q School finals that will open the doors for her to the big league.

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Topics : #Golf

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