NEW JERSEY: This week's ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey will mark a historic moment for Indian women's golf as Aditi Ashok and Sharmila Nicollet will be teeing up at the event for the first time ever.
Aditi, winner of the Hero Women's Indian Open among the two titles she bagged in her Rookie Year as a professional in 2016, has earned a special status on the LPGA.
Sharmila topped a unique twitter poll to gain one of the sponsors' berth in the USD 1.5 million event.
Sharmila, who till a few years back played on the Ladies European Tour before losing her card due to injuries and loss of form, topped the poll, which was LPGA's way of popularising women's golf around the world.
She won the poll, which featured one golfer each from America, Europe, South America and Asia. The Indian girl, who held the flag for Asia, topped the poll.
Aditi has so far played five LPGA events and made cuts in four. Her best finish has been tied-42 so far, but it is clear that she is slowly but steadily adapting to the conditions in the USA, where she has started playing regularly now.
Sharmila has played a few seasons on LET, has also played the odd LPGA events many years ago. But now she is looking to regain her form and make a mark on both LET and LPGA.
A year ago, Anna Nordqvist shot a final-round 64 to tie the tournament scoring record set by Annika Sorenstam (-17) and held off Haru Nomura by one shot to defend her title at the 2016 ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented.
The field of 144 players including 13 in the top-21 in the Rolex Rankings, nine of the tournament winners from 2017 official LPGA tournaments and 75 of the top-100 on the 2017 LPGA Tour money list, makes it an extremely strong and star- studded field.