Abu Dhabi: India's Aditi Ashok started with a flourish and looked set for the lead on the first day of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open golf tournament here today, before she suffered a lapse and dropped three shots in a span of six holes to lie tied 12th.
The 18-year-old, Aditi, who has been a big hit on the Ladies European Tour in her rookie season, had six birdies against three bogeys for a round of three-under 69. She was four shots behind the leader.
The leader was Iceland's Olafia Kristinsdottir, who had eight birdies and just one bogey in her seven-under 65.
This next event is the Hero Women's Indian Open, which is Aditi's home tournament, where she recorded a top 10 finish as an amateur four years ago.
So this week will be a good tune up, and the Abu Dhabi event also includes four former Hero Indian Open winners, including defending champion, Emily Kristine Pedersen (69), Gwladys Nocera (68), Caroline Hedwall (72) and Laura Davies (74).
A good finish from Aditi could see her make a strong bid for the Rookie of the Year honours, where she lies third behind Nuria Iturrios of Spain, who carded three-over 75, and Angel Yin, who was even after 10 holes.
Aditi, who is on a streak of four top 10 finishes in her last four LET starts, started with a par and then had three birdies on the trot. Further birdies on sixth and eighth meant she turned in five-under. Another superb start to the back nine with a sixth birdie on 11th saw her move to six-under. Then came bogeys on 12th, 14th and 17th.
Aditi had mixed feelings about her front and back nines.
"I hit a few good approach shots in the first few holes and kept myself in play and gave myself few chances and made the putts. A couple of them were good long ones. It was a good day and they went in. I holed a 25-footer on second and then a 30-footer on sixth and the rest were inside 15 feet. That was a good start," she said.
"I missed a lot of putts on the back nine, couple of easy ones for par and couple of easy ones for birdies. I should have made at least a couple of them, and then I wouldn't have been as bad I was. I missed a short six footer on 15th and another 12-footer on 16th and on the front nine. I missed a 10-footer on fifth.
"Still, not bad, three-under. But I know my back nine could have been a lot better. I will try and play the back nine the way I played the front (nine) today and put myself in good positions tomorrow," Aditi added.
Leader Olafia has made just two cuts in five starts on LET this season, but has a great start this week.
Beth Allen, second on the Order of Merit, shot 66 and was tied second with Sarah Kemp of Australia, Olivia Cowan of Germany and Minea Blomquist of Finland, who had similar scores.