LEARNING EXPERIENCES ABOUND FOR ROOKIE ASHOK
Aditi Ashok’s big smile radiated when asked about her waterproofs, which will certainly come in handy during Wednesday’s water-logged day at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship presented by CTBC.
“It’s too hot to wear the waterproofs, so what do you do?” said Ashok, who hoped to walk Miramar Golf Country Club today. The 19-year old from Bangalore, India, just squeaked into this week’s field, finding out on Sunday evening that she was in the tournament – her first appearance of this Asia Swing – following In Gee Chun’s withdrawal.
“I’m just happy that I finally got one because I thought I wasn’t going to get any Asia Swing events, but now I got this one,” said Ashok, who has yet to see the golf course after arriving Tuesday afternoon. “I also got an invite to Malaysia, which was pretty cool and I’m excited about that, because I’ve played on that course a couple times before.”
In her rookie year on the LPGA Tour, where she is only the second full-time player from India, she spent more time on the road than she had ever done during her previous playing career. Looking back at the season, Ashok sees a major silver lining in a year of hard work.
“I was out for almost 14 weeks during the summer, which was new, because I’ve never been away for that long, “ said Ashok, who finished T8 at July’s Marathon Classic for her best showing of the season. “It’s been a different experience, just playing so many events, traveling. And I got to play in all five majors this year, which was a pretty cool experience.”
Ashok became the darling of sports in her home country when she represented India at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and also played full time on the Ladies European Tour. She remains the face of women’s golf in India, though the next generation is certainly nipping at her heels. A record nine players from India teed it up in August’s LPGA Qualifying School Stage I, something which is certainly attributable to the humble young player.
“There’s always been women’s golf in India but it’s never come out like the men’s,” said Ashok. ” So hopefully there will be more girls trying to play internationally, and eventually, when everyone does that, there might be more girls playing on Tour.”
WEATHER WREAKS HAVOC WITH PRE-TOURNAMENT PLANS
Miramar Golf Country Club needed rain. Just not this much.
Over the last week, the New Taipei City region has received nearly 12 inches of rain, much of it due to Typhoon Khanun, which hit the island last week. While the area had been primarily dry over the weeks leading into the event, today’s torrential rains led to the cancellation of the pre-tournament pro-am to allow the golf course to drain ahead of tomorrow’s first round.
“It’s draining better than most courses,” said Nicole Broch Larsen, who arrived on Sunday and was able to get in nine holes during Monday’s sunny conditions. “If it’s going to rain like this all week, then it will be tough. But fingers crossed.”
Broch Larsen’s method of killing time? A mean game of cards in the locker room.
“I have a lot of good friends out here on Tour, so we are just trying to make the best out of it,” said Broch Larsen. “You can’t do anything about the weather, so it’s just dealing with it and have fun.”
“I don’t think of it that way because I still feel I’m young and I have so much more golf to play. But yeah, if it’s because of me, then it’s just one more thing that happened because I’m playing golf, so that’s nice.”
- Aditi Ashok, on serving as an inspiration for future generations of Indian golfers
“The orchestra was playing really loud. It was a good party.”
- Nicole Broch Larsen, on the full orchestra that played at Tuesday night’s pro-am party