Aditi Ashok off to flying start at Gainbridge LPGA

Indiaโ€™s Aditi Ashok got off to a flying start at the Gainbridge LPGA, carding a 6-under 66 to be tied-third.

Aditi was in sparkling form, finding the first 17 green in regulation. She faltered only once – on the 18th – and it ended in a bogey.

Fellow Indian and LPGA debutant Nishtha Madan struggled, carding a 5-over 77. Her round began with a birdie but then she had five bogeys and a double before birdieing on 12th.

Aditi carried a Callaway 5-Hybrid as she handled the longer holes well on a track which is very long. The hybrid clearly worked for her and gave her more chances, prompting her to remark that she wished she had taken a hybrid earlier in her career.

โ€œLast time [here at Boca Rio] I missed the cut, but I remember it being really long. This time I was kind of focused on playing the long holes good and worked on my hybrids a lot the last three, four days,โ€ Aditi said.

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โ€œThat helped because I know Iโ€™m going to get at least five or six hybrids, maybe more, into greens. Being able to hit those close and make birdies with hybrids was good for me. I actually made, I think, three or four birdies today with a 5-hybrid [approach], which is great for me. Wish I would have added it sooner in my career, but better late than never,โ€ Aditi added.

Lydia Ko, a 16-time Tour winner, fired a bogey free 9-under 63. That gave her a two-shot lead over Danielle Kang.

Kang, winner of the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions last week, had eight birdies against one bogey in her 7-under 65. Seven players are tied for fourth with 67s and the group included the 2021 US Womenโ€™s Open champion Yuka Saso.

Defending champion Nelly Korda was among those who shot 4-under to be T-11.

The Gainbridge LPGA was hosted by Lake Nona Golf and Country Club in Orlando last year and returned to Boca Rio Golf Club this year.

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