It was an exhilarating final day for fans as a back-nine battle saw India’s Aditi Ashok hold on to emerge victorious in the second Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open with an untouchable 18 under par.
Ashok who started the day in first position after three solid performances hit her weakest round of the week; which was still an astonishingly low 3 under par, which was just enough for her to claim the trophy, a career third LET title and € 70,787.85 first prize purse.
“I’m happy I came out on top” expressed Ashok.
She added: “It was the plan on seventeenth as well, so I don’t know how that happened. I did the same on 18 and gave myself a birdie chance and it just didn’t go in. On the tee box I actually watched Georgia hit the second shot and heard clapping, so knew that was a par putt. I figured out I only had a one short lead and I was kind of in-between minds whether I should go over the water or go from the left. I decided to go from the left and it worked.”
Ashok was certainly the most consistent over the four days so it was no surprise the seasoned golfer would be in the mix. She said: “I was in control as I had my game plan and I wasn’t too aggressive. I just kept giving myself birdie putts. That was the story of my putting all week. I guess it was the birdies that did it for me.”
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Georgia Hall went into the day in fifth position, looking to better her runner-up performance from 2016, and with a stellar front nine of 33 consisting of three birdies and six pars, the talented Hall looked confident. The back nine saw the requisite number of birdies excruciatingly fall short for Hall who managed three birdies and six pars for the remaining back nine, meaning Hall once again had to settle for second place.
Hall said: “I’m a little disappointed, I thought to myself I needed 8 under today and I was ticking them off in my head. I hit the ball great all week but putted really badly, and didn’t hole anything today. But Aditi played great again and managed to par the last, so well done to her.”
She added: ”I played the best rounds, in terms of my long game in 2017, but putting, I hit good ones and they just weren’t going in. Going down the last, I thought I was three behind, so I thought I had no chance if I had known maybe things would have been different but it is what it is. But I really enjoyed the week in Abu Dhabi and had a lot of fun out there.”
Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth also managed to keep the pressure on throughout the day. A consistent performance of six birdies, aside from a fourteenth hole bogey, kept her nipping at the heels of Ashok and Hall, but it was not enough to quite catch the top two.
Lennarth said: “Absolutely thrilled with how I finished today. I have had a really solid week and gave it my all out there. I am going to go home, missing India and China, to get some much needed recovery before playing in Dubai.”
The day belonged to Ashok though, who demonstrated consistency and skill all week that is bound to inspire those who got to witness how thrilling women’s golf is today.
Dr Mai Al Jaber, Board Member of The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy said: “Congratulations to all the lady golfers. It has been wonderful to witness their power and grace this week and they have provided us with four days of amazing action. I have no doubt that their participation will inspire women of all ages to become involved in this sport.
“As members of the Abu Dhabi sporting community, our vision is to inspire the next generation of UAE sports stars by offering them the platform to succeed. We look forward to continuing the tournament’s legacy and further growing the game here in Abu Dhabi.”
His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary at Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), owner of the event, said: “We would like to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak – Mother of the Nation, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, for her continued efforts in ensuring ladies excel in all sports and positioning Abu Dhabi as a global sports destination for them.
“We saw great numbers of visitors over the past four days, which we consider being a huge success in encouraging ladies and young people to play this game. This tournament will continue to at the forefront of the global agenda as one of the most important stages for the players to compete in.
“I would like to congratulate Aditi for her four amazing days and becoming the second winner.”
The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open teed off a ground-breaking week for women’s sport in Abu Dhabi. The LET event is closely followed by the International Conference of Sports for Women (ICSW), a milestone event and internationally-recognized platform with a clear agenda at its heart – to inspire future generations by focusing attention on key topics that play a pivotal role in increasing female participation in sport.
ICSW will take place on Monday 6, and Tuesday 7, November at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), welcoming a world-class line-up of panelists and speakers from the world of women’s sport.
Amongst the line-up of sporting pioneers are three Olympic medallists, the winner of 10 Special Olympics medals in seven separate disciplines, the founder of the internationally-acclaimed Beirut Marathon, the Head of Global Sponsorship Marketing at VISA, the youngest Arab to have conquered Mount Everest, the oldest record holder in international triathlon history, and a 14-time Muay Thai World Champion.
Over the week, more than just golf was enjoyed at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. The Tournament Village teemed with visitors who enjoyed delicious food and drink, family fun and views of Saadiyat Beach Golf Club’s fairways basked in the Arabian sun. Visitors enjoyed activities such as chipping challenges, the regions first-ever ‘paint golf’, and introductory beginners’ sessions in the popular tournament village, as well as culinary food truck delights.
The Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open is sponsored by: FBMA, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, TDIC, Al Masaood, Etihad Airways, Marriott Downtown Abu Dhabi and Omega.