Rio de Janeiro: Teen Indian golf sensation Aditi Ashok raised hopes of an Olympic medal as she stood just
four strokes off the pace at tied 8th after the second round of the Women's Individual event on Thursday.
The 18-year-old was just four shots behind the leader, Stacey Lewis of US after firing a second successive three-under 68, which included five birdies against a couple of bogeys, to move to six-under 136.
Inbee Park of South Korea finished with two straight birdies for another 5-under 66 and the 36-hole lead in women's golf.
Park is the most decorated major champion at Olympic Golf Course, though she has been largely forgotten this year because of a thumb injury that caused her skip the last two majors. But she has shown up in a big way in golf's return at the Olympics.
Park was at 10-under 132 and had a one-shot lead over Stacy Lewis, who had 11 birdies in her round of 63. Another shot behind was Charley Hull of England.
Aditi (68-68), with four others was in 8th place.
Speaking about her round, Aditi, who plays on the Ladies European Tour said, "I shot three-under both days, so that's pretty consistent for me. I dropped a few shots today, a couple of shots and I could have been a few shots better, but I'm happy going into the weekend?"
On the importance of her performance for the game back in India, the teenager, who has been a pro for just six months said, "I think it would be big in India, and also being a golfer, a woman golfer, it will definitely boost the popularity of the sport.
"That's what I'm hoping to do. In India and also all over the world, because golf is in the Olympics for the first time, so I think it would make golf more public among the general people who watch golf, not just the golf fans who watch it right now."
Speaking about the conditions, Aditi added, "It was a bit windy. It was windy for me on the back nine. But it's different -- it played different yesterday and it played different today because of the wind. I'm enjoying it."
(With inputs from agencies)