India’s own Aditi Ashok is keen on showcasing her global status to her countless followers at home as the Hero Women’s Indian Open 2022 gets underway on Thursday.
Ashok has fond memories of playing back in her homeland, with her maiden LET victory coming at the 2016 event, to kickstart a career that has seen her claim the spoils in three events on Tour to date.
If her stock hadn’t risen high enough, the Bangalore-born star also caught the attention of her compatriots last year in Japan, where she came within one-shot of claiming a medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, as she continues to blaze a trail when it comes to golf in her homeland.
And with the eyes of her country watching once again this week, Ashok is eager to rediscover that winning feeling once again at the US $ 400,000 event, which begins on October 20.
“I came back to defend it in 2017 (was T-13). That was the last time here, so I am looking forward to it,” she said.
“This is actually my ninth week in a row and so I’m a bit tired, I guess a bit jet-lagged. But I’m just going to try and conserve my energy for this week because it is four rounds. I’m used to it being a three-round event!
“It’s a tough walk out there too, and you need a lot of mental energy to play this golf course. So, I’m just going to try and focus on that so that I have the best physical and mental state for those five hours every day.”
Aditi, who was 14 (in 2012) when she finished T-8 at this event as an amateur, continued: “I think as a golfer, obviously I’ve changed a lot since I last played here in 2017.
I think just the level, the skills I have like I felt I had a great short game when I used to play in India and then when I got to the LPGA, I realised everyone has a great short game.
So, I had to work at being even better at something that I was already good at and the same with putting, same with driving accuracy and so many other things. I feel like I’ve made them tighter and so, as a golfer, definitely better.”
Ashok won’t be the only former champion ready to take on the DLF Golf and Country club this week, with reigning champion Christine Wolf ready for action, as well as 2011 winner Caroline Hedwall and 2017 victor Camille Chevalier.
2022 has been a mixed year for the Frenchwoman – who currently sits at 115th on the Race to Costa Del Sol standings – but she revealed her game and mind were both in a better place now heading into the event.
Chevalier revealed, “I went through a very interesting period after my win here in 2017, through which I learned a lot. I’m actually happy I went through this tough time because I’m now a much wiser person.”
“I worked a lot on my technique so that’s why I went through ups and downs. But now I’m starting to digest everything and also I’m back to playing the game because I was working on technique and I lost myself a little bit in there. Now I am really playing with my strengths. I’m really enjoying the game.”
A visit to India has always been a positive one for Meghan MacLaren, who has two top-ten finishes to her name around this course, including a third-place finish last time out in 2019, where she finished four shots back of eventual winner Wolf.
“This has been an event I’ve loved ever since I first came in 2017,” MacLaren said.
“It’s somewhere that has always fit my eye and is just very different to anything else we played; the people are so welcoming.
“I just think it’s one of my favourite events of the year and whenever I decided to come back and play the LET this year, this was one of the events that I kind of had circled as somewhere I wanted to be. So, it’s living up to expectations so far.”
The field this week in India will also include four champions from the current 2022 season – as well as MacLaren (Australian Women’s Classic), we will see Anne-Charlotte Mora (Åland 100 Ladies Open), Tiia Koivisto (Jabra Ladies Open) and Ana Peláez Trivino (Madrid Ladies Open.
With just three events remaining in the 2022 season there will be a number of stars eager to earn themselves valuable points in the Race to Costa Del Sol standings, with the third-placed Johanna Gustavsson the highest ranked player to tee it up this week, after playing her part in the winning team at the Aramco Series – New York last week.
Follow all the action on @LETGolf on Instagram and Twitter and Ladies European Tour on Facebook and YouTube – #RaiseOurGame #HWIO2022.