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India’s Aditi Ashok eyes podium finish in women’s golf at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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India’s Aditi Ashok birdied three of her last four holes for a solid 5-under 66 in the second round of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics women’s golf competition on Thursday to stay in the race for a historic medal for her country.

 The 23-year-old rolled in five birdies for a flawless card on yet another steamy day at Kasumigaseki Country Club to lie tied second on 9-under 133 with Danish duo, Nanna Koerstz Madsen (64) and Emily Kristine Pedersen (63).

American star and World No. 1 Nelly Korda tied the Olympic record of 62 to open up a four-shot lead on 13-under 129 through 36 holes while India’s other representative, Diksha Dagar returned a 72 to share 53rd place on 6-over 148.

Featuring in her second Olympics, Aditi kept herself in the prime position of delivering the first-ever medal in golf for India with birdies on Hole Nos. 2, 5, 15, 17 and 18. 

“The last three holes, I had a couple of shots that were just a good number for me and I hadn't really had any short approaches all day, maybe just a couple,” said Aditi.

 With the competition faced with the possibility of being reduced to 54-holes due to impending thunderstorms over the weekend, the slightly-built Indian knows she needs to keep firing at the flags to ensure what would be a monumental podium finish for Indian golf.

 “This whole week there's going to be so many girls making birdies, especially because the weather's warm and the conditions are favourable. I think whatever holes I get to play, whether it's 54 or 72, I'm not really going to sit on anything, I'm just going to try and be as aggressive and make more birdies,” she said.

Her strong start in the women’s competition has continued to attract plenty of attention on social media at home which Aditi hopes will bring more attention to the sport. She is dreaming of a medal but is experienced enough now with her experience on the LPGA Tour to know she needs to stay in the present.

“Oh, yeah, for sure,” Aditi responded if she was thinking of a podium finish. "It's kind of like everyone's thinking about it. It's definitely at the back of my mind. But on the course, I'm not really thinking much about it. I'm just trying to hit the best shot I can hit. And hopefully, people back home are watching it a lot more. I know a few of my friends are staying up to watch, which is cool. The Olympics is huge. In a regular event, people just wouldn't follow it as much, even if it was an LPGA event or a major. So, yeah, I think the buzz has been good so far.”

With Aditi’s mum Maheshwari on caddying duties this week – her dad was on the bag in Rio – she reckons it has helped her to give her full attention to her game plan and executing the right shots at Kasumigaseki’s East course.

“I think when my dad's there, he knows my game a lot more, probably sometimes more than I know myself, so I always feel compelled to rely on him sometimes. Whereas this week I know my mom's there, I can ask her anything, but in terms of like golf advice, she may not be able to help me as much as my dad. So I guess I'm committing to my decisions more and being more decisive on my own,” said Aditi, who finished 41st in Rio 2016.

Featured photo : IGF

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