Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Aditi Ashok closes in on historic gold; Indian women’s team marches to top slot

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Aditi Ashok played a sensational third round of 11-under 61 to place herself in a commanding position to win a historic individual gold medal in the golf competition at the Asian Games here on Saturday.

Aditi, who is now seven shots clear of her closest rival, also carried the Indian women’s team to the top spot, where it holds a one-shot lead over Thailand.

Indian women have never won a medal at the Asian Games, as Aditi had finished a distant 21st at the Incheon Games in 2014.

Aditi’s 11-under scorecard was five shots better than the next-best round of the day.

India’s other two players, Pranavi Urs (71-68-70) at 7-under and Avani Prashanth (72-69-74) at 1-under are 11th and tied 19th respectively.

However, the day did not go well for the men. Anirban Lahiri, who needed medical aid to help him through extreme heat in the second round, was off-colour.

He shot 2-over 74 on a course that has been yielding low scores.

Lahiri at 10-under was tied-17th, while SSP Chawrasia with a 68 in the third round was on tied 20th and Khalin Joshi with a card of 69 was on tied 24th.

Shubhankar Sharma shot a wayward 76 that saw him dropping to tied 34th.

Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho (70) at 24-under leads the men’s section with Taipei’s Chien-Yao Hung (67) at 21-under and Korea’s Jang Yubin (68) at 20-under is third.

The Indian men’s team are also out of the reckoning for a medal, as they were eighth with a total of 32-under, which was a massive 26-shots behind Korea, while Thailand and Hong Kong share the second place.

Aditi, who was fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, is now 22-under with rounds of 67-66-61 for a total of 22-under after 54 holes.

Her closest rival, Arpichaya Yubol (67-65-69) is 15-under, while China’s Lin Xiyu (67-67-68) is 14-under.

Aditi’s stunning round also gave India a one-shot lead in the team competition.

Aditi’s 11-under put alongside Pranavi Urs’ 2-under 70 helped Indian women construct a lead.

India is now 29-under and are ahead of fancied teams like Thailand, China, Korea and Japan.

Aditi has dropped just one shot in 54 holes and that came in the second round.

She opened the third round with a birdie on second and added further birdies on fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth to go 5-under.

Then she landed her second eagle of the week on the short par-4 ninth to turn in 7-under 29.

On the back nine, a birdie on the 12th was followed by three more on 15th, 17th, and 18th holes to go 11-under.

Pranavi had three birdies against one bogey, while Avani had two birdies and two bogeys in the first 17 holes and then had a double bogey on the 18th in her 74.

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