Dane closes with 10th eagle of the season
Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen closed her second round with an emphatic eagle to post a silky round of 68 (-4) and hold a two shot halfway lead at nine-under-par from Lydia Hall, heading into the weekend at the inaugural Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF.
The in-form Dane takes up a familiar position atop the world-class leaderboard, having triumphed earlier in the season at the Tipsport Czech Ladies Masters as well as posting a runner-up finish in Scotland and a third place finish in Switzerland.
Taking advantage of the traditionally calm morning conditions at Royal Green Golf & Country Club, Pedersen put an opening bogey behind her to hit 17 greens in regulation and move closer to sealing her second title of the season and the Race to Costa del Sol crown, with two events still to play.
Sat alongside overnight leader Georgia Hall as she approached her closing hole, the big-hitting two-time LET winner ignited her challenge with a final flourish on the par five (ninth hole).
“I think I liked the pin a bit more on nine than yesterday when I went in the water as I could be a bit more aggressive on the left-hand side. I hit a big drive and managed to hold a hybrid up in the wind to 15ft. It’s always nice to finish like that.”
The current LET No. 1 also heads the recently launched LET ‘Break Par Challenge’, which is a season-long challenge designed to recognise exceptional player performances with points awarded to a player who makes any score under-par. As it stands, the 24-year-old has not only made more birdies than any other player but double the amount of eagle than her nearest challenger, with her latest exploit her tenth of the year.
“I wasn’t feeling much pressure as I was trying to focus on just this week, I think I put too much pressure on myself last week in Dubai as the Race to Costa del Sol leader and thinking I needed to defend then I got a smack in the head with my first round so, just tried to be a bit humble this week.”
Trailing her by two-strokes and joining her in the final group alongside major winner Georgia Hall at 10.05 tomorrow is Welsh star Lydia Hall, who impressed for a second-day and put her links experience to good use in the blustery afternoon conditions.
“I hit a lot of knockdown shots and I am comfortable doing that, I am definitely going to need them again over the weekend. I can see how the girls were feeling like they had a hard bargain yesterday. There was a two-shot wind on a lot of holes, so I am pleased. My goal was to stick on level par so overall really pleased and looking forward to the weekend.”
Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall tied the course record set by Georgia Hall yesterday with a stunning 65 of her own, while Germany’s Laura Fuenfstueck, who recorded a career-best T3 finish last week, put herself in to contention with a 66 (-6) to tie compatriot Esther Henseleit in T4.
In celebration of the launch of Saudi Arabia’s pioneering National Golf Sustainability Strategy – announced on Wednesday – the tournament celebrated ‘Green Friday’ with player’s donning their best emerald shades to show their support for Golf Saudi’s new eco-initiative.
The course’s pin flags were also turned green, as were the tournament leaderboards, and the famous 16th hole was adorned with two ‘Green Agenda’ tee boards in other ways to herald the world-first scheme.
The halfway cut fell at +7, with 67 players advancing to the weekend. Check out the draw for Round Three HERE
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