moonlight classic


DUBAI, Dec 1 — Aditi Ashok has her eyes set on completing a unique ‘Desert Slam’ when she tees up at the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic at Emirates Golf Club from December 6 to 9.

Coming off a creditable rookie LPGA Tour season, highlighted by starts in all five Majors, in-form Aditi needs to only win in Dubai to seal the coveted slam after having captured the Qatar Ladies Open last year and the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open in Abu Dhabi early this month.

The 19-year-old prodigy believes the prospect of becoming the only player to win all the three events on the Ladies European Tour’s desert swing will spur her when she returns to the Majlis course.

“Dubai is one of my favourite events of the whole year and I am excited to play at Emirates Golf Club. I finished tied third in 2016, so I would like to better that,” she said ahead of the Omega Dubai Ladies Classic.

“I have won in Qatar and Abu Dhabi, so it would be amazing to win in Dubai, too,” said the Bangalore native, who won the 2016 Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year in addition to earning high conditional status at the LPGA’s annual qualifying tournament in Florida.

She produced some creditable results on the LPGA Tour, making 14 cuts in 21 starts with tied 8th at the Marathon Classic as her best result. She also qualified for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, becoming the first from her country to play in the season-ending LPGA Tour event.

“I think I did okay (on the LPGA Tour) considering I had conditional status and I played only three of first 10 events. I missed a few cuts, especially at the majors, which I wish I hadn’t, but playing all five majors was a pretty cool experience.

“I’ll have better status for next year. I’ve seen most of the courses so I can plan it better for next year,” said Aditi, who shared the lead with Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn for a brief period at the Rio Olympics before finishing in a tie for 41st.

“I think I have to focus on my goals, on my game and keep progressing. And as long as I do that and I inspire some younger kids to take up the game, then I would have done my best,” said Aditi, who made history when she became the first Indian to win the Ladies British amateur stroke-play championship at Leeds in 2015.

Aditi will be up against a strong field headlined by Women’s British Open winner In-Kyung Kim, Dame Laura Davies and American Brittany Lincicome among other top draws as she chases her fourth win on the Ladies European Tour.

Omega Dubai Ladies Classic tournament director David Spencer said: “Aditi is a great talent who has made remarkable progress with her golf. We look forward to welcoming her back to Dubai. I wish her the very best and hope her presence will motivate other emerging players to aim for greater things in life.”

Meanwhile, entry to the tournament is free, but fans must register online for tickets. The daily Clubhouse Terrace Hospitality ticket is priced at Dh275 and the season Clubhouse Terrace Hospitality pass is available for Dh1,100. Golf enthusiasts may visit the tournament website for more information.


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