Hangzhou, China, 30-09-2023

Aditi poised for historic golf gold in Asian Games, takes team to top with one round to go; Men lag behind

By V Krishnaswamy

Aditi Ashok played a sensational third round of 11-under 61 and is now poised for a historic individual gold medal at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou. Aditi, who is now seven shots clear of her closest rival, also carried the Indian women’s team up into the top spot in the team event, where it holds a one-shot lead over Thailand.

Two gold medals would be historic for the Indian women, who have never won a medal at the Asian Games in the past. Aditi did play at the 2014 Games in Incheon, Korea, but as an amateur and finished 21st.

Aditi’s 11-under scorecard was five shots better than the next best round of the day. India’s other two players, Pranavi Urs (71-68-70) at 7-under and Avani Prashanth (72-69-74) at 1-under are 11th and T-19.

Things did not go too well for the men, as Anirban Lahiri, who needed medical aid to help him through extreme heat in the second round, was off colour. He shot 2-over 74 on a course that has been yielding low scores, but the conditions have has also taken a toll on many players.

Lahiri at 10-under was Tied-17th, while SSP Chawrasia with a 68 in the third round was T-20 and Khalin Joshi (69) was T-24.

Also shooting a score well below expectations was the out-of-sorts Shubhankar Sharma, whose 76 saw him drop to T-34 at 3-under.

Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho (70) at 24-under leads the men’s section with Taipei’s Chien-Yao Hung (67) at 21-under and Korea’s Jang Yubin (68) at 20-under is third.

The Indian men are also out of the running for a medal, as they were eighth at a total of 32-under, which was a massive 26-shots behind Korea, while Thailand and Hong Kong share the second place.

Aditi, who was fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, is now 22-under with rounds of 67-66-61 for a total of 22-under for 54 holes. Her closest rival, Arpichaya Yubol (67-65-69) is 15-under, while China’s Lin Xiyu (67-67-68) is 14-under.

Aditi’s stunning round also gave India a one-shot lead in the team competition. Aditi’s 11-under put alongside Pranavi Urs 2-under 70 helped Indian women make up five shots on the third day. India is now 29-under and are ahead of fancied teams like Thailand (28-under), China (26-under), Korea (20-under) and Japan (20-under).

Aditi has dropped just one shot in 54 holes and that came in the second round. She opened the third round with a birdie on second and added further birdies on fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth to get to 5-under. Then she landed her second eagle of the week on the short par-4 ninth to turn in 7-under 29. On the back nine a birdie on the 12th was followed by three more on 15th, 17th, and 18th to get to 11-under, the best score among this week.

Pranavi had three birdies against one bogey, while Avani had two birdies and two bogeys in the first 17 holes and then had a double bogey on the 18th in her 74.

Hong Kong’s Taichi Kho, 22, with rounds of 62-60-70 is 24-under leads the men’s individual section by three shots. Chinese Taipei’s Chien-Yao Hung (65-63-67) at 21-under is second and the first round leader Korea’s Jang Yubin (61-67-68) at 20-under are the top three contenders for the individual medals.

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