XIAMEN: Young Indian golfer Aditi Ashok got off to yet another fine start as she opened the Xiamen International Ladies Open with a two-under 70 that put her in Tied-13th place.
Rookie Aditi, who is on a streak of three successive Top-10 finishes is being seen as a dark horse to land her maiden title.
Another Indian, Vani Kapoor, shot even par 72 and was lying Tied-45th at the picturesque Orient Golf Club.
Chinese teenager Yuting Shi shot seven-under-par 65 to lead by two at the co-sanctioned event which nearly didn’t happen after Typhoon Meranti hit the venue.
More than 10,000 trees were felled or damaged by the Typhoon and green keepers worked overtime to get the par-72, 6,352-yard Ronald Fream/TK Pen-designed course in Haicang district, back into shape.
Aditi, as usual, attacked the par-fives and picked birdies on three of the four. She missed a short putt on the fourth. Her fourth birdie came on the par-4 17th. She dropped shots on par-4 second and par-3 11th.
Vani was two-over through 10 holes, but did well to pick three birdies between 11th and 17th before dropping bogeying 18th for a 72.
“I missed a few short putts for birdie, like the par-5 eighth on front nine and another couple of 8-10 footers. But two-under is not a bad score and I came make up for that tomorrow,” Aditi said.
“I have played a few times as an amateur in China and the Asian Youth Games. This is a nice golf course with small greens, so that makes it somewhat tricky. I know they (local area) had had a tough time with a Typhoon, and they have done a good job of getting the course ready for the tournament.”
On her series of Top-10s, she laughed and said, “It is getting kind of boring, but still I know it is good to be consistent. Now I would like to try for something better, like a Top-5 or a Top-3 and better.”
The 18-year-old Beijinger, Yuting Shi, shot a error-free 65 and led by two over Elina Nummenpaa from Finland, who was Tied-second with Thailand’s Ploychompoo Wirairungreung (67).
A stroke further back on 69 are Ssu-Chia Cheng and Ai-Chen Kuo from Chinese Taipei, China’s Liqing Chen, England’s Sophie Walker, Hyeon Seo Kang of South Korea, Amelia Lewis of the United States and Ajira Nualraksa of Thailand.