In any other tournament, Aditi Ashok would have gladly taken a fourth-place finish but this was the Olympics and the golfer said it is hard for her to be happy even though she produced the best ever performance by an Indian at the Games.
Overnight in sole second spot, Ashok finished fourth with a three-under 68 in the final round that left her 15-under 269 overall at the par-71 Kasumigaseki Country Club, where world No 1 Nelly Korda of the USA took gold with a four-round total of 17-under 267.
“I think I gave it my 100%, but, yeah, fourth at an Olympics where they give out three medals, kind of sucks. In any other tournament I would be really happy, but it’s hard to be happy with fourth place. I played good and gave it my 100%,” she said.
“Going into the round I didn’t think about it much, it was fine, but obviously coming in (the final stretch) I tried my best to hole the last few putts...in a regular tournament whether you finish second or fourth it really doesn’t matter, no one cares,” she explained her feelings.
The 23-year-old was not particularly happy with her final round show even though it was studded with five birdies against just two bogeys.
“I was just missing so many fairways. The front nine I just hit one and the back nine I think I must have hit maybe three of four more. That was bad today, put me out of position. I couldn’’t get close to the flag,” she rued.
But she is hopeful that her stellar performance would ignite more interest in the sport.
“I wish I had a medal, but I hope everyone is still happy. Going into the round, I didn’t think about it (people watching her on TV) too much,” she said.
“Just having more top finishes, even if it’s not exactly a podium finish, will maybe bring more support to the sport, (with) more kids picking it up. That helps build the game,” she said.
On the final day of the Tokyo Olympics golf contest, the fight for the medals continued till the 72nd hole, the very last hole of the four-day competition.
On what was going through her mind, Aditi said, “Not much, actually. I got a really good lie off the tee, I hit the fairway finally and then I had a good club in, so it was a good number too.”
“...I had a chance to make a birdie and I pulled it a hair left, also because there was a bunker and water on right but still I gave myself a birdie putt...I mean I wanted to hole it and I gave my best attempt. It’s hard to force the issue when you’re like 30 feet away.”
Golf returned to Olympics in 2016 after over a 100-year gap and Aditi had competed at that edition, finishing tied 41st.
“Obviously, when I started golf, I never dreamt of contending at the Olympics. Golf wasn’t even an Olympic sport. You just pick it up, work hard and have fun every day. And then sometimes you get here,” she said.
Did she have any thoughts on the dreaded fourth spot, or knew of legends like Milkha Singh, who had ended fourth at the Games?
“No, I didn’t know that actually... obviously now that I’ve joined that – you don’t want to join that club, but I guess I’ve joined it. But no, I think it’s good, just even top 5 or top 10 at an Olympics is really good,” she said.
Ashok, who also played at the Youth Olympics, has a string of records to her name.
The youngest to win the Ladies European Tour (LET) Qualifying School, she became the first Indian to win on the Ladies European Tour, when she claimed the 2016 Hero Women’s Indian Open. She added two more LET titles. She now has 18 Major appearances, the most by any Indian – men or women. The list of records is long.
With PTI Inputs
Respond to this article with a post
Share your perspective on this article with a post on ScrollStack, and send it to your followers.