LOS ANGELES, May 1 (PTI): Indian golfer Aditi Ashok came tantalisingly close to her maiden LPGA win before losing in a three-way play-off at the JM Eagle LA Championship here.
The 25-year-old Indian, who has been on the LPGA for seven years now, carded a four-under 67 in the final round to earn a place in the play-off with Hannah Green (69) and Xiyu Lin (67).
But she couldn’t go the distance, registering a Tied second finish, her best result on the world’s biggest ladies Tour.
Though disappointed, she took positives from the second place at the Wilshire Country Club.
“I think overall it’s a good week. I’ve never played in this position on the LPGA, to be near the lead on the first day and stay there the whole tournament,” she said.
“The competition is just so deep out here. Ten people have a good tournament but only one can win. I’m happy with the way I played.”
Aditi, who finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, started the week with a bogey-free five-under and when she added a one-under 70 on the second, she went into sole lead after 36 hole for the first time in her career.
It was also her first cut of 2023.
On the third day, she did not score as well but bounced back on Sunday with four-under 67 with five birdies and a lone bogey on 17, to move to nine-under overall. That put her into a play-off with Green (69) and Lin (67).
Ashok had a 15-foot putt that lipped out on the 18th in the playoff, ending her bid. Lin made a 12-foot putt, and Green made a 4-footer to stay in the game.
On the second extra hole at No. 18, Lin hit into a bunker and blasted out to some 18 feet and missed the par putt. That left Green to tap in from 2 feet for her first LPGA win since September 2019.
“I think I played well today, kind of like the first day, no mistakes,” Ashok said. “Just a bogey on 17. Feels like that’s the shot I left out there.”
Aditi, who won on the Ladies European Tour in her rookie year at the Hero Women’s Indian Open, added two more wins later. This year she had a win at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open in February for first LET win in five years and now leads the Race to Costa Del Sol. She was also second once and third once on the LET.
Ashok credited her recent success to her off season grind.
“I was just working on swing speed in the off-season, gained a lot of yardage, so that definitely helped. The driving distance helped a lot and just working on being more consistent through the game.
“I changed my irons back to what I was using a couple years ago and I’m more comfortable with that, so that’s helped this week.”
Aditi has a week off and is due to play next at the Cognizant Founders Cup.
Ruoning Yin won in Los Angeles last month at the DIO Implant LA Open at Palos Verdes Golf Club and had a chance to win again but two late bogeys ruined her chances.
She carded 67 to fall to eight-under and missed the playoff. She tied for fourth with Ayaka Furue of Japan, who had a 65.
Nelly Korda, the No. 1 player in women’s golf, had a 67 and tied for sixth. Cheyenne Knight, who had a two-shot lead going into the final round, closed with a 2-over 73 and tied for sixth.