The race for the Ladies European Tour’s 2015 Rookie of the Year Award is extremely close heading into the season-ending tournament, the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters at Emirates Golf Club.
It is all down to two Danish players who come from Smoerum Golf Club: Emily Kristine Pedersen and Nanna Koerstz Madsen, who are ranked sixth and eighth on the LET Order of Merit respectively.
Pedersen, who won the Hero Women’s Indian Open in October, leads with earnings of €164,063.41 from 13 tournaments played this season. She is €32,434.12 ahead of Nanna Koerstz Madsen, 21, who has earned €131,629.29 from 15 tournaments so far in her first year as a professional. Both players will be competing in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters for the first time and Madsen needs to finish third to have a chance overtaking Pedersen. First prize money is €75,000, with €50,750 for second place and €35,000 for third.
Pedersen, 19, said: “It is always nice to be in a good position before the last tournament, but as I have said before a lot can still happen and golf is unpredictable. Nanna is a really good player so I don’t really think about Rookie of the year coming in to the tournament. I am focusing on my own game and I am headed in to the tournament with the goal to make the best possible result in Dubai.”
Prior to claiming her maiden title at the Hero Women’s Indian Open on the newly opened Gary Player Course at DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, where she led from start to finish, Pedersen finished second at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France at Golf de Chantaco, where she was narrowly edged by Frenchwoman Celine Herbin in a play-off.
She also tied for second at the Deloitte Ladies Open at The International in Amsterdam earlier in the year before completing her school studies, with further top 10 finishes at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, where she tied for seventh place, and the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, where she tied for eighth.
“I am very happy about my first year on the LET. I knew my first year would be quite tough as I had to finish high school in June. I have learned a lot from the other players and have improved my game too. Also I am very happy about playing well, which have given me the opportunity to play in some more tournaments,” said Pedersen. “The highlight of the season is of course my win in India, but also playing in the two majors: the Ricoh Women’s British Open and Evian Championship.
“I have learned a lot about the level on tour compared to amateur golf, I’ve learned how important it is to handle the fact that sometimes you’re playing under a lot of pressure, like to make the cut, to win, or earn enough money to qualify for the next tournament. At the beginning of the year I still wasn’t quite sure of my level yet, but after France where I was close to winning, it made me believe that I was good enough to win on the LET.”
Madsen, who led the qualifiers at the LET’s Lalla Aicha Tour School in Morocco last December, has recorded six top 10 finishes on the LET this season with her best finish third at the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Women’s Open. The highlight of her season was shooting a seven under par final round in this year’s Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry to share the course record with Inbee Park.
Madsen said: “It has been an exciting first year on tour, I really enjoy being out on the tour. In terms of my results, I am satisfied, but I expect at least one win next year. I don’t really think that much about the rookie ranking, I just see it as any another tournament… and like always I am going for the trophy. I do feel confident that I can get a top three finish, but my focus will not be on that, I will just play my own game and see what that leads to.”