Golfer Aditi to carry India's hopes at Hero Indian Open
Gurugram, Nov 9 (IANS) Indian golf's poster girl Aditi Ashok is ecstatic to return to the DLF Golf and Country Club here as a professional as the 18-year-old will lead the home challenge in the Hero Womens Indian Open tournament from Thursday.
After a consecutive top-10 and top-15 finish as an amateur here, Aditi will tee off alongside the biggest names in the game, including defending champion Emily Pedersen, Brittany Lincicome (World No.40 and two major championships winner), Beth Allen, Isabelle Boineau and Anne Van Dam among others.
The event -- co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour (LET) and the Women's Golf Association of India (WGAI) -- will see 114 top professionals from around the globe fighting for the top spot.
Besides Aditi, the Indian challenge will include Hero Order of Merit leader Amandeep Drall and local professional Vani Kapoor.
After becoming the youngest and first Indian woman golfer to feature in the Olympics, Aditi has had a dream run this year.
Currently placed third in the Rookie of the Year ranking after a series of top-10 finishes, Aditi is all set to continue her good form.
"I had one top-10 and top-15 finish in this course as an amateur and now returning to the course as a pro. This will be a great challenge for me personally playing alongside some of the biggest names," the teenager told reporters here on Wednesday.
"Since the Olympics, I have been in good form, which is very important coming into such an important tournament. I have also had a few top 10 finishes and I feel that I have improved as a player. Hopefully, I will do well at my home event."
Commenting on the changes in the course from last year, Aditi said: "The 17th green is a lot bigger, a couple of holes are shorter than last year. That will definitely make things challenging."
Spearheading the foreign challenge, Denmark's Emily is keen for a good start to defend her title.
"It feels great to be back. I won my maiden title here last year, so I have lots of good memories here. There are few changes on the course, its playing really well," she said.
Emily is expected to face a tough fight from the likes of Beth Allen, who is in excellent form after winning the last tournament in Abu Dhabi and world number 40 Brittany Lincicome, who will make her debut at the $400,000 Indian Open.