Denmark’s Emily Pedersen fired a fantastic second round of one over par 73 on the challenging Black Knight Course at DLF Golf and Country Club on Saturday to keep her lead at the Hero Women’s Indian Open.

Playing in hot conditions, the 19-year-old Ladies European Tour rookie professional set the target at one under par in the morning.

Her nearest rival, Becky Morgan from Wales, then shot 71 to lie just one behind heading into the final round, with Denmark’s Malene Jorgensen third on one over.

Pedersen is playing in India for the first time and has mastered her precision shots into the challenging greens. She had one birdie in her second round, on the par-5 fourth, where she made a five metre putt, but there were six other chances from inside three metres on the first, seventh, ninth, 11th, 13th and 18th holes.

“It could have been better but I’m happy with my score. My game was much better than yesterday. I just didn’t hole the putts,” said Pedersen, who narrowly missed out on a play-off victory at last month’s Lacoste Ladies Open de France.

“My approach was just the same: keep to the same game plan as yesterday. I hit a lot of good shots, 12 fairways and 14 greens. I didn’t hole a lot of putts. All pins are tough on those greens but I think the LET staff and the tournament direction is good at putting pins in the best positions.”

Pedersen suggested that her caddie, Mikey Curry, might be a good luck charm, although this is their third tournament working together. “It’s funny that his name is Curry when we’re in India!” she added.

Both are in India for the first time and enjoying the local culinary delights. “I like the food, it’s much better than I expected,” continued Pedersen.

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With 15 years on Tour, Morgan is a consistent performer but also yet to clinch her first win. Her accurate wedge play is an advantage on the challenging course and she had four birdies and three bogeys in her second round.

Jorgensen, who has been dining with Pedersen all week, is also targeting her first victory and she was tied for the lead with two holes to play until she hit her second shot into the water on the eighth, resulting in a double bogey.

She said: “I played very good today and my putter was hot so I’m happy with my round. I hit the ball close and my putter was good. That was the secret.”

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Finland’s Ursula Wikstrom was also tied for the lead early in the round but came unstruck with a double bogey on the difficult par-4 17th.

She said: “I was on the left side of the green and took four more to get down. It’s a tough hole. 17 is the hole where you hope you can get out with a reasonable score. You could have a birdie chance, but it’s hard to make it. I think it’s one of the holes that you try to survive somehow.”

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View of the 17th fairway (above) and green (below)

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Wikstrom is tied for fourth with Finland’s Minea Blomqvist, England’s Liz Young, Thailand’s Nontaya Srisawang and Cheyenne Woods of the United States, who had an impressive three under par 69.

Woods said: “Today I kept the ball in play. Yesterday I had a few errant drives that got me into trouble. I also was able to hit 17 greens today so I had a lot more chances for birdie and had four in total, which definitely helped. It’s tough to make birdies out here because the greens are tough, so I played well and I’m happy.”

Italian Giulia Sergas, who was tied for the lead on one under par after 17 holes, said she was “about to chew someone’s head off” after she took a triple bogey eight on the par-5 18th. She is tied for ninth with Thailand’s Saraporn Chamchoi on three over par and said: “It was just the wrong club, wrong decision with the first shot and second shot. I’m now plus three, so you never know. If it happened to me it could happen to anybody.”

There was joy and despair for Thai professional Muangkhumsakul Kanphanitnan who aced the fifth, as unfortunately it was not the designated hole where an Omega watch is available.