Tokyo: Indian golfer Aditi Ashok narrowly missed out on historic medal at Tokyo Olympics as she finished 4th behind overnight leader and world number one Nelly Korda, Japan's Mone Inami (65) and New Zealand's Lydia Ko (65).
Aditi finished 15-under and needed a birdie in the 72nd hole to force bronze medal playoff with Lydia Ko, but that was not to be as, Ko got a par score on the 18th, forcing a silver medal playoff herself with Japan’s Inami Mone.
Korda clinched the gold medal with a 2-under 69 that left her 17-under overall and a shot ahead of Japan's Mone Inami (65) and New Zealand's Lydia Ko (65).
In an interview, Aditi said that today she didn't drive the ball very well. She said she didn't leave anything out there and gave it my hundred percent, but finishing fourth at an Olympics where they give out three medals kind of sucks. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Q. Tough luck. You tried your hardest all day. Didn't quite go your way. Just sum up the day for us.
ADITI ASHOK: I think today I didn't really drive the ball very good and then it's hard to get birdie putts or hit greens when you're not in the fairway. So, yeah, that was definitely the hardest part to make a score today.
Q. You were well within that race for the top 3. The 15th hole perhaps that is where things slipped out and then the 16th Lydia again had a bogey.
ADITI ASHOK: Yeah, I mean 15 was okay, it was nothing, I mean I was just scrambling, I was in between clubs so I hit one more and it went over. But I don't think it was that bad. I still made a par, so it's fine. But just generally like 15 also I missed the fairway so I was just missing so many fairways. The front nine I just hit one and I think the back nine I must have hit maybe a couple more, maybe three or four more. So that was what was bad today, kind of put me out of position so I couldn't get close to the flag.
Q. I'm sure you would be focused here, but almost all of India was watching golf at 3 in the morning today. What were your emotions going into the round today?
ADITI ASHOK: I mean going into the round I didn't think about it much, it was fine, but obviously coming in I tried my best to like hole the last few putts and just knowing because in a regular tournament whether you finish second or fourth it really doesn't matter, no one cares. But like at this event you need to be in the top 3. I didn't leave anything out there, I think I gave it my hundred percent, but, yeah, fourth at an Olympics where they give out three medals kind of sucks.
Q. Talk about the putt on 17 and the 18th hole?
ADITI ASHOK: Yeah, 17 was perfect. I hit it exactly the speed I wanted, the line I wanted, I just -- maybe I made too many through the four rounds, golfing gods were like, okay, we're not going to give her this one. But no, I just tried my best, even the last hole, although it was really out of range, it was almost a long putt, but I still tried to give it a chance. So yeah, I think I gave it my best attempt.
Q. Are you conscious of the fact that a lot of Indian sporting legends have also finished fourth at the Olympics?
ADITI ASHOK: No, I didn't know that actually obviously now that I've joined that not so -- you don't want to join that club. But yeah, I guess I've joined it. But no I think it's good, just even top 5 or top 10 at an Olympics is really good. Because you know that sport or that person has a medal chance. So just having more top finishes, even if it's not exactly a podium finish, will maybe bring eyes to the sport and more support, more kids pick up more, whatever, that helps grow the game.
Q. What was going through your mind on the last hole?
ADITI ASHOK: Not much, actually. I got a really good lie off the tee, I hit the fairway finally and then I had a good club in, so it was a good number too, so only then I thought that, okay, I had a chance to make a birdie and I pulled it a hair left, also because there was bunker and water on right but still I gave myself a birdie putt and that putt I think, I mean I wanted to hole it and I gave my best attempt, it just, it's hard to force the issue when you're like 30 feet away.
Q. Can you share a message of inspiration for youngsters back home in India to pick up golf perhaps after your performance this week?
ADITI ASHOK: Yeah, sure, obviously when I started golf I never dreamt of being or contending at the Olympics, golf wasn't even an Olympic sport. So sometimes you just pick it up and work hard and have fun every day and sometimes you get here.