Nanna Koerstz Madsen and Emily Kristine Pedersen share a life-long rivalry and the pair will begin a new contest when they tee up at Mission Hills Resort Haikou next week in the World Ladies Championship in China.
The talented young duo, from the Danish town of Smoerum, grew playing at Smoerum Golf Club and to this day they share the same long-game coach in David Dickmeis.
They both played their rookie season on the Ladies European Tour in 2015, when Emily won her first tournament at the Hero Women’s Indian Open and finished sixth on the Order of Merit to claim Rookie of the Year honours, but Nanna was right behind her all the way and ended in ninth place on the Order of Merit.
In 2016, the pair were once again competing, for the second spot on the Danish Olympic women’s golf team in Rio next to Nicole Broch Larsen. On that occasion it was Nanna who won the battle, having earned her maiden professional title at the Tipsport Golf Masters in the Czech Republic last summer.
Nanna finished the year ranked sixth on the Order of Merit, just one place ahead of Emily, but they are now locked in a tussle for a place on Annika Sorenstam’s 2017 European Solheim Cup Team. With nine LET events to be played before the qualification deadline, after the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns, Emily occupies fifth spot and Nanna is in sixth place on the LET points list, just outside the top four places that automatically qualify, along with the top four players from the World Rankings.
“We are always battling. Always. Always something new,” said Nanna, while Emily added: “I don’t know if it will always be like this, but I don’t think about it much and it doesn’t matter that it’s her. Whoever it was, I would want to beat them. We’re kind of used to it.”
Both players are trying to focus on the small things that they can control, rather than the race to qualify for the world’s biggest women’s team event, taking place in Iowa, in August.
“It would be great to be on The Solheim Cup team but I’m just trying to focus on my game,” said Emily, 21, who was a member of the European PING Junior Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup teams. “The Solheim Cup would be great and I would love to be part of it.”
Nanna, 22, echoed those sentiments when she said: “I would be very happy to qualify for The Solheim Cup, but it is something that will come if I play well. I’m playing okay right now, but I just need to focus on my things and I’ll see where it takes me.”
Both Emily and Nanna will be teeing up in their second tournament of 2017 for the WLC, having finished T18th and T53rd respectively at the Oates Vic Open in Australia last month.
Nanna said: “It will be my first time in Hainan and people say that it’s nice there, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Emily added: “I’m very much looking forward to getting to play again and obviously, the World Ladies Championship is a great event. I’m looking forward to being at a new Mission Hills Resort. I’ve been working really hard on my game, so I’m looking forward to testing it again in China.
“I would very much like to have a win again. It’s all about progress and the process of being a better golfer. At the end of the year, if I feel I’ve become a better player, then that will be a success.”
The sixth edition of the World Ladies Championship will be played over the prestigious Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Resort Haikou from March 17-19. So far, each of the past five editions has produced a new winner.
Nicole Broch Larsen is another top Dane to watch