Tuesday, December 22, 2015

17-year-old amateur Aditi Ashok from India 

is top of the LET Q Class of 2015

             The graduates at the 2015 LET Q School show their feelings at the finish.
Gemma Dryburgh  is above the letters "ath" in the picture. On her right is Annabel Dimmock. To the right of Annabel is the Moroccan qualifier in pink and Kelsey is to her right in a blue skirt and shirt. Thanks to John Dryburgh for his help in identifying who's who in the picture!


Amid a world-class field of competitors from 35 different countries, 17-year-old amateur Aditi Ashok created golfing history by becoming the youngest and first Indian player to win the Ladies European Tour’s Final Qualifying School  in Morocco.

After rounds of 68, 69, 62 and 68 over the Samanah and Amelkis courses in in Marrakech alternately, Ashok chipped in for birdie on the final hole, the par-4 18th, in the fifth and final round at Samanah Golf Club for a closing 70 and a five-round total of 23 under par, 337.

The aggregate gave her a three-stroke win over Daisy Nielsen of Denmark, with overnight leader Karolin Lampert of Germany ending two strokes further back in third place.

The victory was a massive accomplishment by the Bangalore student, who is still to sit her final high school exams in March 2016 and whose outstanding amateur career - she won this year's St Rule Trophy at St Andrews and the British women's open stroke-play title at Moortown as well as a silver medal at the European women's amateur individual championship  - has her ranked No 14 in the world's female amateur ranks.

Ashok said that she has dreamed of becoming a professional golfer since starting to play golf aged five and a half and was inspired by watching Laura Davies and Gwladys Nocera compete in the 2007 Ladies Masters in her home city of Bangalore as an eight year old. Now she will have the opportunity to write her own story and she said: “I’ve always wanted to be a professional because I just love playing golf. It’s been my dream ever since I was a kid so it’s great to make the first step in getting there. I’m really happy.

“It’s an amazing feeling because I came into the tournament obviously wanting to give myself a chance to win but also just wanting to play consistent enough to get a card. Winning it and getting a card is just that much better.”

Ashok started the final round one stroke behind Lampert and she bogeyed the second and third holes to fall further behind, but the pair were tied at 20 under par after Lampert double bogeyed the ninth hole.

Ashok had missed a number of chances but she moved ahead when Lampert bogeyed the 10th. With a birdie on 11, Ashok went three strokes clear after Lampert bogeyed the 12th.

Ashok then converted a birdie putt of 15 feet on the 15th before finishing in style on the course where she recorded a women’s course record 62 in the third round.

“On 18, there was a lot of wind coming in and I underestimated the wind so it ended up four yards in front. It was a front pin so I was just playing a few feet to the hole but it just went in, so it was lucky there,” she said.

Another young player with a bright future, Nielsen ended on a high note with seven birdies in a final round of 66. The Dane said: “I played really solid and I only left one putt out there. I’ve had a tough year and it’s really nice to play well and maintain my card for next year.”

Although Lampert lost her lead on the final day, she said: “I played four over par and didn’t make any birdies so I was not really happy with that, but being in the top five should get me into a few more tournaments and I can’t wait to play next year on the LET.”

Nurria Iturrios of Spain ended in fourth place on 15 under par, with England’s Annabel Dimmock and Kelsey MacDonald of Scotland sharing fifth spot. Emily Talley of the United States tied for seventh with Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh, followed by Noemi Jimenez Martin of Spain in ninth and Justine Dreher from France in 10th.

A total of 31 players finished on three under par or better, earning the opportunity to take up Ladies European Tour Membership in Category 8 for 2016 and will return to Morocco with fond memories when the Lalla Meryem Cup takes place next May 
   A very happy Gemma Dryburgh poses for LET photographer Tristan Jones in front of the final scoreboard at Samanah Country Club, Marrakech in Morocco.