Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen led from start to finish to claim her first professional title at the Hero Women’s Indian Open.
The Ladies European Tour rookie shot a closing 73 on the challenging ‘Black Knight’ Course at DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon to finish on 216, level par, one ahead of fellow Dane Malene Jorgensen, Becky Morgan from Wales and Cheyenne Woods of the United States. England’s Liz Young ended in fifth spot, with Italian Giulia Sergas in sixth.
“It’s amazing and I’m so happy. The course has been a big challenge for us. My game has been very good, very steady. I didn’t make any huge mistakes. I kept focused all day,” said Pedersen, 19, who was denied her first win when she lost out in a playoff to Celine Herbin 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 and I’m so happy it didn’t happen again and I could win. I was thinking about the play-off after 17 but my caddie Mikey Curry kept me going and focused on my own shots.”
Pedersen started the last round one ahead of the field but three putted for a bogey on the first hole before Woods took the outright lead after three birdies in her first six holes.
Pedersen hit her approach shot to three metres on the par-5 eighth hole and two putted for a birdie to get back into a share of the lead on one under. Woods then birdied 11 before Pedersen matched her, hitting a 9-iron in to the green and making a four metre putt.
Both players bogeyed 14, but Pedersen pulled one back at the 15th to reach two under. Woods then struck a fantastic iron shot up to six feet from the flag on the treacherous 17th green and her birdie putt barely missed the edge.
After Pedersen bogeyed 17, Woods was in the joint lead until she double bogeyed the par-5 18th. She explained: “I hit it in the bunker, my drive went too far through the fairway. Because of where the ball was I had to fade it in order to keep it in the fairway and once I faded it, it went a little too far, hit the cart path and went into the bush. The only option I had was to take an unplayable and go back. I went back, put it back in play and hit it on the green and two putt.”
It was then between Pedersen and Morgan, who both matched each other with bogeys on the final hole. Faced with a downhill putt of 10 feet for par, Pedersen was so nervous that her hands were shaking. “That’s what I stepped back, because I couldn’t feel my hands and I was too afraid to hit it,” she said.
Morgan, who left a four foot birdie putt on the edge of the hole on 17, said: “I had a really good chance on the last two holes so I’m a little bit disappointed. I’m fairly happy with the way I played, I just left some putts out there that didn’t get to the hole. I hit it pretty straight so I feel like there are a few courses on the European Tour that suit me like Pilsen and here. It’s okay finishing second but I wish I’d have won.”
It was another podium finish for Jorgensen, who was third when fellow Dane Nicole Broch Larsen won the Helsingborg Open last month. “It’s second this time instead of third, so one step closer. I struggled with my swing at the beginning of the week so I’m actually quite happy to finish second. It was so close out there,” she said.
With her win, Pedersen moved up to seventh on the LET Order of Merit and first on the Rookie of the Year standings, ahead of compatriot Nanna Koerstz Madsen of Denmark. Her winning score, of level par, is the highest on the LET since Raquel Carriedo won the 2002 Tenerife Ladies Open at Golf del Sur.