Who is Aditi Ashok - Five things to know about the Tokyo-bound Indian golfer

Aditi Ashok will represent India at her second consecutive Olympics in Tokyo 2020.

3 min By Samrat Chakraborty
“I never grew up thinking an Indian girl could actually win”
(Picture by 2016 Getty Images)

India's top ranked woman golfer Aditi Ashok will make her second consecutive appearance at the Olympics in Tokyo 2020, slated to get underway from July 23, after finishing 45th on the qualifying list released on Tuesday.

She, thus, became the first Indian woman golfer to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and third Indian after her male compatriots Anirban Lahiri and Udayan Mane had made the cut.

The women's golf event at Tokyo 2020, a four-round 72-hole affair, will run from August 4 to 7 after the completion of the men's event.

And ahead of the much-awaited Games, let us know a bit more about India's leading woman golfer:

Indian golfer Aditi Ashok in action
Indian golfer Aditi Ashok in action (Getty Images)

Hails from a non-golfing background

Aditi Ashok was never pushed by her parents to take up golf. In fact, they hardly understood the sport initially. She was five years old when she first witnessed some golfing action unfold in front of her eyes from a restaurant that was situated near the Karnataka Golf Association.

“We used to go for breakfast on weekends at a restaurant overlooking the driving range at the Karnataka Golf Association,” Ashok told the Golf Channel.

“I remember asking my dad, "What is that? What are they doing?’ And my dad said, `Do you want to give it a try?’” she added.

It was then that she took to golf for the first time with her father Ashok Gudlamani, who worked in real estate, and mother Mash, who was a radio jockey.

Her hometown in Bangalore had only three golf courses then.

Father works as her caddie

Aditi's father not only encouraged her to make a career out of her passion in golf but also worked as her caddie. At Rio 2016, Ashok was Aditi's caddie.

“I was just carrying the bag,” her father told the Golf Channel. “She was doing all the hard work."

Youngest golfer at Rio Olympics

The ace Indian golfer achieved a special distinction at her maiden Olympic appearance at Rio 2016 as she became the youngest golfer across both men's and women's categories at the age of 18.

She was in medal contention in Rio after the second round. But Aditi could not keep up the pace at the top of the leaderboard and finished tied at the 41st spot in Rio.

A woman of many firsts

Aditi is the first and only Indian woman golfer to feature at the Asian Youth Games (2013), Youth Olympic Games (2014), Asian Games (2014) and Olympic Games (2016).

She also became the youngest and first Indian woman to clinch the Lalla Aicha Tour School title which clinched her a Ladies European Tour card for the 2016 season. Her 23-under-par round of 337 gave her a three stroke win over Daisy Nielsen of Denmark.

It was also in 2016 that Aditi became the first Indian to clinch a Ladies European Tour title by winning the Women's Indian Open. With her final score of 3-under 213, she finished one stroke clear of Brittany Lincicome (USA) and Belen Mozo (Spain), who bagged a tied second spot.

She, then, became the first Indian Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) player in 2017 and and finished eighth in the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year standings.

Idol and favourite golf course

Aditi draws inspiration from Northern Ireland golfer Rory Mcllroy. The 32-year-old has won 14 titles on European Tour. Besides that, he also won the PGA Championships in 2012 and 2014.

The Indian golfer is also fond of Seve Ballesteros due to his shot-making ability and creativity. Her favourite golf course is the Old Course at St. Andrews which is also considered as one of the oldest in the world.

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