Rookie Emily annexes title

 Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pederson embellished her rookie year with Hero Women’s Indian Open, her first professional title, in a closely fought contest at DLF Golf and Country Club on Sunday.

In a nervy finish, the 19-year-old, who led the leaderboard since the first round, dropped shots on both 17th and 18th holes for a one over 73 in the third round and a total of 216. She, however, benefited from the errors of her nearest rivals Cheyenne Woods, compatriot Malene Jorgensen and Becky Morgan of Wales, all of whom dropped shots at crucial stages for a joint second place at 217.

For India, Karnataka’s 17-year-old amateur Aditi Ashok had the best finish at tied 13 (225). Vani Kapoor finished tied 20th with a score of 227 to be adjudged as the best Indian professional at the tournament.

Pedersen, who is aiming to win the rookie player of the year award, was ecstatic after the win which moved her to seventh place on the LET Order of Merit and first on the Rookie of the Year standings.

“The course has been a big challenge for us. My game has been very good, very steady,” said Pedersen, who had narrowly lost out in a play-off at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France last month.

“I made a bogey on 17, three putted and I was kind of getting a flash back. I’m so happy it didn’t happen again. I was thinking about the play-off after 17 but my caddie Mikey Curry kept me going and focused on my own shots. On the 18th green my hand was shivering as I was addressing the putter to win it.”

Pedersen began with a bogey but birdied on 8th to share the joint lead and then again on 11th. Like Woods, she too bogeyed 14, but pulled one back at the 15th. When Pedersen bogeyed 17, Woods was in the joint lead but once the American double bogeyed the 18th, it came down to Pedersen and Morgan. Both bogeyed the final hole but Pedersen came out a clear winner.

For Woods, it was a heart-breaking finish. The 25-year-old American had jumped to the sole lead for the first time after six holes in the morning. She sank birdies on the second, fourth and sixth holes to go one ahead of Pedersen.

Woods began the back nine with another birdie on the 11th before her clean card was blemished on the 14th. However, it was the 18th hole which clipped her wings after she missed the birdie putt at 17th.

Despite that she scored a one-under in the final round for a best card in the final round along with Sarah Kemp and defending champion Gwladys Nocera.

Scores after 54 holes(Indians unless mentioned): 216: Emily Kristie Pedersen (Den, 70, 73, 73), 217: Cheyenne Woods (USA, 77, 69, 71); Becky Morgan (Wal, 73, 71, 73), Marlene Jorgensen (Den,  73, 72, 72), 218: Liz Young (Eng,  73, 73, 72),2 20: Giulia Sergas (Ita,71, 76, 73), 221: Tanaporn Kongkiatkrai (Tha, 77, 71,73), 222: Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul (Tha,75, 73, 74).

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