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17-year-old Aditi wins European Q-School, earns 2016 Tour card

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Marrakech (Morocco): Aditi Ashok rounded off a dream week with a birdie that gave her a comprehensive three-shot win on the European Tour’s Lalla Aicha Tour School Final Qualifier.

Aditi, just 17, and still an amateur, becomes the first Indian, men or women, ever to win a Qualifying School event for an international Tour.

In her final round Aditi Ashok had two bogeys in first three holes, but then with four birdies and carded two-under 70 in a tension-packed fifth to total a whopping 23-under, while Danish golfer, Daisy Nielsen (66) finished second at 20-under. Aditi’s earlier rounds included a record 10-under 62 in the third round and she was under par on each of the five days.

The win gives Aditi Ashok full playing rights for 2016 and will be the only Indian to have that on Ladies European Tour. Before Aditi, another Bangalore golfer, Sharmila Nicollet held playing rights on Ladies European Tour, but this year she failed to get her card.

An elated Aditi said, “It’s an amazing feeling because I came into the tournament obviously wanting to give myself a chance to win but also just wanting to play consistent enough to get a card. Winning it and getting a card is just that much better. I could have played a bit better today and shot in the 60s but I won so I guess its fine.”

Aditi was delighted to be among the pros and said, “Yes! I’ve always wanted to be a professional because I just love playing golf. It’s been my dream ever since I was a kid so it’s great to make the first step in getting there. I’m really happy. I’m just 17 but I’m going to try and do my best every week and hopefully have a good rookie year and build my career from there.”

Aditi started somewhat tentatively with bogeys on second and third but then steadied. “From the sixth hole I was going for birdies and I had quite a few good putts that just narrowly missed the hole so six, seven, eight, nine. I knew that I could recover from my two bogeys.

“It was unfortunate that Karolin made a double bogey (on the ninth) but she had a difficult lie in the bunker. I guess that sort of helped me a little bit and gave me a cushion with her being two back. I made a birdie on 11 and I kept trying again. I made one on 15 and I think by then that was good enough.”

Talking of her finish with a birdie, she said, “On 18, there was a lot of wind coming in and I underestimated the wind so it ended up four yards in front. It was a front pin so I was just playing a few feet to the hole but it just went in, so it was lucky there.