Aditi falters in opening tie of match play in Las Vegas

Las Vegas:  India’s Aditi Ashok led for most part against French golfer Perrine Delacour but lost the last two holes to go down in the first set of matches at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play here.

It was a closely fought battle, where Aditi led for most part of the match. Aditi had five birdies and so did Delacour, but the latter added a sixth winning birdie on the 18th to outgun the Indian.

There are 64 players in the field who will be in action in three days of round-robin play. The winner from each of the 16 groups will advance to the knockout stage on the weekend.

The hosts then won a couple of penalty corners, but India’s defence held strong to prevent them from taking the lead, and the first quarter ended goalless.

India focused on maintaining ball possession in the second quarter, but Australia A took the lead when Arnott (18′) scored a field goal.

Harris (20′) doubled the hosts’ lead moments later as she was free at the far post, allowing her to easily put the ball in India’s goal.

With the scoreline stacked against them, India began to play aggressively and even made some good attacks, but couldn’t find the back of the net as Australia A went into the half-time break with the 2-0 lead.

Australia A extended their lead early in the third quarter when Harris (35′) scored her second goal of the game to make it 3-0 for the hosts.

However, a few minutes later, Tete scored India’s first goal of the match with a brilliant shot from just inside the D.

In their bid to bounce back in the game, India came out all guns blazing in the fourth quarter and even won two penalty corners but couldn’t convert them.

However, the visitors kept testing the home team’s defence and it finally paid off as Sangita Kumari netted a goal in the dying minutes of the match to keep India alive in the game.

But Australia A managed to stop the visitors from scoring another goal as the match ended 3-2 in favour of the hosts.

This was part of their final two games of the tour Down Under in the build-up to the Asian Games in September. They take on Australia A here again on Saturday.

India had earlier lost a three-match series against Australia 0-2 after going down 2-4 and 2-3 in the first two games.

The third game was a 1-1 draw after India came from behind to score an equaliser.