Sports

Bogey free round keeps Aditi in second place

V Krishnaswamy August 5 | Updated on August 05, 2021

Aditi Ashok plays a shot from the second fairway during the second round of the women's golf event at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Thursday   -  REUTERS

Will contend for a medal in golf

Three birdies in the last four holes put Aditi Ashok firmly in contention for a medal as she went one stroke better than the first day with a bogey free 5-under 66 at the women’s Olympic golf competition.

Aditi, playing her second Olympics with her mother, Maheshwari, as her caddie, is now tied-second 9-under 133 for 36 holes with Nanna Koerstz Madden of Denmark. The leader by four shots was the world number1 was Nelly Korda, who is now 13-under. Korda (67-62) at one stage was 11-under for 17 holes and looked set for a historic sub-60 score of 59 at the Par-71 Kasumigaseki Country Club. A double bogeyed on the last hole saw her fall to 9-under for the day and 13-under total.

For the other Indian golfer, Diksha Dagar, it was a much-better second round of 72 after first round 76 and at 6-over she was T-53rd.

It was another tough day in extreme heat and there is a threat of a tropical storm, which could even impact play over the next two days. It could even result in the event being cut to 54 holes.

Talking of her brilliant finish Aditi said, “The last three holes I had a couple shots that were just a good number (distance and yardages) for me and I hadn’t really had any short approaches all day, maybe just a couple. So, yeah it was good to have the same number like two times and hit a couple of good putts as well.”

On the shot on 18th, where she hit a 7- iron for a risky shot, she added, “I hit it like a hair thin than I wanted to, but yeah, according to the number it should have flown and it did so it’s all good.”

However before that happened there were a lot of impressive scores and that included Aditi Ashok. The lanky Indian, making up for her lack of distance off the tee with some excellent short game, had five birdies which kept the Indian star in the medal race. She shared the lead with Nanna Koertsen Madsen (69-64) at 9-under before Nelly Korda overtook them,

Aditi birdied the second and sixth on the front nine and added three more on 15th, 17th and 18th. All her birdies came from putts between seven and 12 feet and she also had some good approach shots.

Speaking of the weather and the heat as she was one of the few players without an umbrella, she said, “Never. Probably I’m just used to the heat so it’s fine. I think I get more tired holding the umbrella than the sun, so I prefer not to.”

“This whole week there’s going to be so many girls making birdies, especially because the weather’s warm and the conditions are favorable. So 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,” said Aditi.

On what she preferred, 54 or 72 holes, she said, “I mean, either way is fine. As long as the course is playable and it’s not unfair weather, I’m happy.”

Five years ago, Aditi was in contention after the first two rounds, but faded away thereafter. She admitted that she had that in mind and said, “Oh, yeah, for sure. It’s kind of like everyone’s thinking about it, everybody’s here to kind of do that. So it’s definitely at the back of my mind. But, yeah, 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.”

Korda, who shot 67 on the first day went on a rampage that included a nine-hole stretch at 8-under par. The double at the end dented her card.

Round 1 leader Madalene Sagstrom stayed in the top five with 68, giving her a two-day score of eight under par.

Morocco’s Maha Haddioui had a historic hole in one on the 7th as she shot 72-74 on the two days. The last Olympic ace came from the 2016 gold medallist Justin Rose in Rio five years ago.

Published on August 05, 2021

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