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Aditi Ashok and Sharmila Nicollet script history by teeing up for LPGA

Nidhi Iyer
CONTRIBUTOR
News
357   //    31 May 2017, 21:29 IST
Indian golfers Aditi Ashok and Sharmila Nicollet

What’s the story?

Aditi Ashok and Sharmila Nicollet will be scripting history for Indian women’s golf by teeing up for the first time ever at the ShopRite LPGA Classic to be held this week in New Jersey.

The context

The ShopRite LPGA Classic takes place annually in Galloway, New Jersey and is a prestigious tournament on the LPGA tour.

While Aditi earned her way to the LPGA after finishing 24th in the qualifying event held in Florida last month, Sharmila - who played on the Ladies European Tour until a few years ago - won a twitter poll to gain one of the sponsors’ berths and found herself making it to the 1.5 million dollar event.

The heart of the matter

This unique poll on Twitter was LPGA’s way of promoting women’s golf around the world with the intention of featuring one golfer each from America, Europe, South America and Asia.

Sharmila, who had taken a break after her injuries led to loss of form, represented the flag for Asia and topped the poll. Having played a few seasons on the Ladies European Tour (LET) and also an LPGA event years ago, the 25-year-old is now looking to regain her form and make a remarkable comeback through her upcoming performances at both LET and LPGA.

The youngest Indian golfer to qualify for the LET in 2012, Sharmila is the only Indian so far to retain her LET card for two consecutive years.

Aditi has played five LPGA events so far, making cuts in four of them. With her best finish tied-42, she is clearly adapting to the environment in the USA, where she has started playing regularly now.

Having won the Hero Women’s Indian Open among other accolades including two Ladies European Tour wins within her Rookie year as a professional in 2016, this 18-year-old was declared LET’s Rookie of the year which shows a lot of potential for the upcoming tour.

What’s next?

Last year, Swedish ace, Anna Nordqvist shot a final-round 64 to tie the tournament scoring record set previously by fellow Swedish golfer, Annika Sorenstam and held off Haru Nomura from Japan by one shot to defend her title at the 2016 ShopRite LPGA Classic.

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With the tour constituting a field of 144 players including 13 from the top-21 Rolex Rankings, 9 of the tournament winners from official LPGA tournaments and 75 of the top-100 on the LPGA Tour money list, it is going to be an incredibly strong competition and an extraordinary experience for the Indian golfers.

Author’s take

The upcoming LPGA tour calls for excellent performance from both our homegrown golfers. Given their achievements, for both of them from a young age, their combination of experience, skill and technique is something to watch out for.

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Nidhi Iyer
CONTRIBUTOR
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