Neha, Sharmila and Nikita in the hunt for LPGA card
20-year-old Aditi Ashok might have company on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour soon in the form of Neha Tripathi (aged 26), Sharmila Nicollet (27) and Nikita Arjun (24). The Bengalurean is currently the only Indian to hold an LPGA card. Sharmila and Nikita had, in fact, tried to qualify last year but failed to do so. This time, however, having cleared Qualifying Tournament Stage I which was held at Mission Hills Country Club and Shadow Ridge Golf Club in California, the trio’s hopes remain high. To enter Qualifying Tournament Stage II, the ladies had to finish among the top-100.
The second stage will take place at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Florida from October 15-18. The top 15 to 25 players and ties (from the field of 220) will advance to Q-Series, scheduled from October 22 to November 3 at Pinehurst Resort, North Carolina, where top 45 players and ties will receive LPGA Tour membership for the 2019 season.
Top-10 finish for Aditi in France
Bengaluru’s Aditi Ashok shrugged off the annoyance that is normally caused by an airline misplacing one’s baggage and proceeded to finish strongly at the €275,000 Lacoste Ladies Open de France on the Ladies European Tour (LET). The 20-year-old lost her golf bag while travelling to Bordeaux and she confirmed the same via a tweet addressing Aer Lingus, the airline, on September 3.
Aditi fired a nervous 74 on the opening day but recovered to post consecutive rounds of 68 before a stunning 66 on the fourth for a commendable T-7 (8-under-276), just four shots adrift of winner Caroline Hedwall of Sweden.
A two-time LET winner, this was Aditi’s best finish on the Tour thus far this year. She also has two top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour—securing T-6 in the US$1.3 million Volunteer for America Texas Shootout (in May) and T-7 at the US$1.5 million LPGA Mediheal Championship (in April).
Angela Stanford wins Evian Championship
Co-sanctioned by both LPGA and LET, the US$3.85 million Evian Championship—the final Major of the women’s professional golf season—was won by 40-year-old Angela Stanford of United States of America. While the tournament was made a Major only in 2014, it has been held annually at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France since 1994. The prize purse for the 2019 edition will increase to US$4.1 million. India’s Aditi Ashok, who posted her best ever result at a Major in the US$3.25 million Women’s British Open in August where she finished T-22, was unable to make the cut.
Franck Riboud, chairman of The Evian Championship, said: “We are committed to fostering the trend-setting status and heritage of this tournament and, since 2000, Rolex has been supporting us in our initiative through their sponsorship of The Evian Championship. Their alliance with us, and with golf for more than 50 years, has been instrumental to the development of the sport, and we are so grateful to count them as partners.”