Aditi Ashok earned herself an early birthday present on Sunday when she booked her place in the field for next week's ANA Inspiration, the season's opening major championship, with a barnstorming finish to the Kia Classic.
Five birdies in her last eight holes propelled her to a closing seven-under 65 at Aviara Golf Club, a finish with a flourish that lifted her into a tie for 14th place at 10-under, 278 but more importantly into the top 80 on the LPGA Tour money list.
That guaranteed her a prized spot at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, where she will tee off in Thursday's opening round on her 20th birthday.
"My game is in a really good place heading into the ANA," Aditi, who closed with a 68 at last week's Bank of Founders Cup in Phoenix, told LPGA.com. "It's unfortunate that I wasn't already in the field (for the ANA Inspiration) before this week. I missed out via the money list from last year by just a few spots.
"Now that I'm there, I'm sure my game is ready and I'm really looking forward to it. It will be amazing to be at ANA during my birthday week."
Aditi has fond memories of Rancho Mirage from her rookie season on the LPGA Tour last year, when she tied for 42nd at the ANA Inspiration after opening with scores of 72 and 69.
"I played well there, and I like the setup," she smiled. "I feel I have good momentum now and I've just been building confidence. I came off the (2017) off-season and I missed a cut in Australia, so to have two good finishes in Arizona and this week is big for me."
Ashok, a three-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, was joint 40th heading into Sunday's final round at Aviara and soared up the leaderboard with an eight-birdie display highlighted by a scintillating back nine of five-under 31.
"Yesterday and today I hit it really well," she said after firing the lowest round of the day. "I would say I hit it equally good. Yesterday I missed a lot of birdie putts and couple of par putts as well; whereas today I just holed everything. I focused on hitting a lot of greens today. This is a course where if you putt well you score. If you hit long, it's not much of an advantage. You just have to plan and play good."
Ashok certainly planned and played well at Aviara, and her birthday preparations for next week are looking good as well.