India’s Aditi Ashok continued her brilliant run as she added a 6-under 66 in the second round to move to 13-under and a two-shot lead over world No. 1 Lydia Ko in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International here on Friday.
Aditi, who in the last two weeks had won in Kenya and finished third in Morocco, is leading a star-studded field at the USD 5 million event on the Ladies European Tour.
Starting on the tenth tee, Aditi was in excellent form as she found five birdies and an eagle on the back nine of the Royal Green Golf Club to score 7-under 29 on the stretch.
Getting to the front nine, Aditi, who was bogey free on the first day, bogeyed the first and sixth and was on 12-under when she holed a final birdie to move to 13-under and two clear of Lydia, who had earlier finished the day at 3-under 69 to get to 12-under and be tied second with American Lilia Vu (66).
Aditi, a four-time LET winner, who ended a long winless streak two weeks ago in Kenya, divides her time between Ladies European Tour and LPGA. She has begun the 2023 season with three events on the LET and already has a win and third place in those starts.
Focusing on a strong off-season preparation, she has been reaping rich rewards for her work. She used the two months between the two seasons to work and practice.
Aditi said, “I think two months off and practicing a lot compared to how much I would’ve practiced if I was in season has helped with the start to the year.
“I have played here three times before, I know the golf course a little bit, and maybe that familiarity helps me feel comfortable here.” After the first day, when she shot 65, she said, ‘I think early on I hit a couple bad drives, but I managed to save par on those holes. I knew it was one of those days, that even if you don’t hit a good shot things were working out for me today, so glad I was able to capitalise on that.” Swiss golfer Albane Valenzuela (66) was fourth, while Gaby Lopez (69) and Emily Kristine Pedersen (67) were tied fifth.