St Lucia-born golfer takes advantage of windy conditions to win in warm-up to the LPGA Tour
Emily Pedersen is the first British player to win the Saudi Ladies International Pro-Am since Dawn Coe-Jones 11 years ago.
The St Lucia-born golfer, who now resides in South Carolina, joined a cast of LPGA stars on Wednesday to play in the pro-am event, including five of the past six Women’s British Open champions.
The pro-am helps members of the PGA Tour organization familiarise themselves with the region, and Pedersen told the Ladies Professional Golf Association website: “I’m glad I could come out here and make my presence felt, especially because there are a lot of really big names here.
“I just want to share with them the place here. It’s such a good golf course and I think everyone will have a lot of fun coming out and playing.”
I hope I am still here next year Emily Pedersen
Pedersen had missed 11 cuts in her past 11 tournaments and was 159th in the LPGA’s FedEx Cup standings before the event. She carded a seven-under-par 65 in an erratic final round to finish at nine under, in a tie for fourth with the world No.2 Ariya Jutanugarn, China’s Fan Ying Lin and American Stephanie Meadow.
“I think I started hitting the ball so well this week,” Pedersen said. “I was hitting fairways and greens early on and then I played really well for the last three or four days, really solid golf, and it put me in good position for today. I definitely was thinking about the British Open in July when I came into this event. I hope I am still here next year.”
Pedersen may have had better luck without choking on the putter. She had nine putts of greater than two feet on the course and went seven holes between birdies. “Anytime you have a lot of putts with a putting motion, it’s really hard to manage it,” she said. “I did pretty well with it today. I never got too frustrated about the putting, to be honest. It was just unfortunate that I had to make some putts and come up empty.”
Pedersen did have one putt to win the tournament but saw her 30-footer fall short at the 18th, pushing her title bid out to the final hole where Lin holed a 25-footer to claim the honours.
Lin will face the odds in trying to follow up the regional success with a similar run in the Kraft Nabisco Championship in February. She said: “We made a lot of birdies today, we had some chip-ins on the par-5s, we had some half-putts on the par-5s, which has only happened one other time all year. All of a sudden you get five girls in the same final group and there’s going to be a lot of pressure.”