India’s Aditi Ashok finishes 15 under par with a total score of 269 at the end of the fourth and final round of the golf women’s individual event at the Tokyo Olympics, and misses a first Olympic medal ever for India in golf. Diksha Dagar, India’s other participant in the competition, finishes in 50th place.
The gold medal was won by 23-year-old Nelly Korda from the USA, the current number 1 of the world’s addition of Olympic gold to her CV in a year in which she also won her first major. The silver medal was won by World No. 28 Mone Inami of Japan, while World No. 11 Lydia Ko of New Zealand won bronze. Inami and Ko took part in a play-off match to determine their medals after both ended in a draw. Despite missing out on a medal, Ashok, who was ranked 200th in the world, put in an impressive performance, finishing in the top three in the previous three rounds and remaining in contention until the end. She finished 41st during her 2016 Olympic debut in Rio.
India’s medals at the Games stand at five, with silver for weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and wrestler Ravi Dahiya, and bronze for badminton player PV Sindhu, boxer Lovlina Borgohain and the men’s hockey team. India can still compare and even exceed its best score of six medals at the London Games in 2012, with wrestler Bajrang Punia handling the battle for bronze and Neeraj Chopra in the men’s javelin final later on Saturday.
In the fourth round of Saturday, which started pressing early before the onset of a looming tropical storm, Korda still held the lead while several players battled for second place. Ashok even dropped to fourth place after missing a shot halfway through Saturday’s proceedings before regaining her position in the top three. Bogeys on the ninth and 11th holes of the round, however, caused the Indian to slip from the medal spots to fourth place. In the first of the last three holes, however, New Zealand’s Ko hit a flyhalf, allowing Ashok to be tied for third place again. The wind then started to increase and before Ko’s next shot, the horn for the storm went off and players were forced off the track due to a risk of lightning.
When the game resumes after a break of about 45 minutes for the last two holes, Ko misses a shot for eagle, but then makes a simple birdie hole. Ashok then missed her birdie thumb by inches to fall back into fourth place. The Indian demanded an error from Ko to return to the source site. Ko, meanwhile, was level with the Japanese Inami, who did well in the final round to move Korda in first place before a bogey in her last hole cost her first place.
Contrary to her overall consistency in staying at the top of the standings, Ashok’s driving distance this week was close to the bottom of the field of 60 players. After Friday’s play, Ashok revealed that she had it tested positive for COVID-19 in May and June on a visit to India. In addition to forcing her to miss some competitions, Ashok said the virus is also strong on her strength. However, she added that this year was one of the best she has had in her short game, and it compensated for the lack of length during her driving.
After her Game debut five years ago, Ashok achieved significant success on the Ladies European Tour (LET) and won three titles between 2016 and 2017, and has been a regular LPGA ever since. Earlier this year, she took part in her 18th career major at the Evian Championships, taking her twice from Anirban Lahiri, the previous record holder for India.