• December 1, 2021

‘Hard to be happy with 4th place at Olympics’

‘I wish I had a medal, but I hope everyone is still happy. Going into the round, I didn’t think about it (people watching her on TV) too much.’

In any other tournament, Aditi Ashok would have gladly taken a fourth-place finish but this was the Olympics and the golfer said it is hard for her to be happy even though she produced the best ever performance by an Indian golfer at the showpiece.

Overnight sole 2nd, Aditi finished fourth with a three-under 68 in the final round that left her 15-under 269 overall at the par-71 Kasumigaseki Country Club where world number one Nelly Korda of the USA took gold with a four-round total of 17-under 267.

“In any other tournament I would be really happy, but it’s hard to be happy with fourth place. I played good and gave it my 100 per cent, but, yeah, fourth at an Olympics where they give out three medals kind of sucks,” she said.

The 23-year-old was not particularly happy with her final round show even though it was studded with five birdies against just two bogeys.

Talking about the race for the top 3 and the 15th hole where things slipped out and then the 16th where Lydia again had a bogey, Aditi said: “Yeah, I mean 15 was okay, it was nothing, I mean I was just scrambling, I was in between clubs so I hit one more and it went over. But I don’t think it was that bad. I still made a par, so it’s fine. But just generally like 15 also I missed the fairway so I was just missing so many fairways.

“The front nine I just hit one and the back nine I think I must have hit maybe three of four more.

“That was bad today, put me out of position. I couldn’t get close to the flag,” she rued.

“Yeah, 17 was perfect. I hit it exactly the speed I wanted, the line I wanted, I just — maybe I made too many through the four rounds, golfing gods were like, okay, we’re not going to give her this one. But no, I just tried my best, even the last hole, although it was really out of range, it was almost a long putt, but I still tried to give it a chance. So yeah, I think I gave it my best attempt.”

But she is hopeful that her stellar performance would ignite unprecedented interest in the sport, which is perceived to be elitist.

“I wish I had a medal, but I hope everyone is still happy. Going into the round, I didn’t think about it (people watching her on TV) too much,” she said.

“Just having more top finishes, even if it’s not exactly a podium finish, will maybe bring more support to the sport, (with) more kids picking it up. That helps build the game,” she said.

Golf returned to Olympics in 2016 after over a 100-year gap and Aditi had competed at that edition, finishing tied 41st.

“Obviously, when I started golf, I never dreamt of contending at the Olympics. Golf wasn’t even an Olympic sport.

“You just pick it up, work hard and have fun every day. And then sometimes you get here,” she said.

Did she have any thoughts on the dreaded fourth spot, or knew of legends like Milkha Singh, who had ended fourth at the Games?

“No, I didn’t know that actually, obviously, now that I’ve joined that — you don’t want to join that club. But I guess I’ve joined it. But no, I think it’s good, just even top 5 or top 10 at an Olympics is really good,” she said.

Aditi, who also played at the Youth Olympics, has a string of records to her name.

The youngest to win the Ladies European Tour (LET) Qualifying School, she became the first Indian to win on the Ladies European Tour, when she claimed the 2016 Hero Women’s Indian Open.

She added two more LET titles. She now has 18 Major appearances, the most by any Indian – men or women. The list of records is long.

On the final day of the Tokyo Olympics golf contest, the fight for the medals continued till the 72nd hole, the very last hole of the four-day competition.

On what was going through her mind, Aditi said, “Not much, actually. I got a really good lie off the tee, I hit the fairway finally and then I had a good club in, so it was a good number too.”

“…I had a chance to make a birdie and I pulled it a hair left, also because there was a bunker and water on right but still I gave myself a birdie putt…I mean I wanted to hole it and I gave my best attempt. It’s hard to force the issue when you’re like 30 feet away.”

Share HKG Daily News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related post