It was a day full of bling for Emily Pedersen, who announced herself as one of the game’s rising stars at the Saudi Ladies International Pro-Am at Mushrif Golf and Country Club. The 21-year-old Swede recorded a first round 72 to lie tied sixth in an American-led field of 72, four shots behind the leader.
Pedersen didn’t waste any time making an impression, attacking the blind, red-lined ninth tee in a barnstorming run-up that yielded three straight birdies – a three-putt at the 12th cost her a chance of an eagle – and taking the lead at one-under par.
“I just love hitting the fairways,” said Pedersen. “Once you get into that, you can’t miss a putt. It worked out that way.”
The American Lauren Ditty continued her impressive form with a 67 that leaves her tied for fifth – four shots off the lead – and hitting the front a week before she competes in the $1m LPGA Tour Championship for a third time.
The 34-year-old is tied with Amy Yang, who fired a 69, and Jessica Korda, who is aiming to become the first woman to win the CME Group Tour Championship when it kicks off the season.
The third major of the season is set to be thrilling, with four of the last six tournament winners have gone on to win the bigger money event and there is also a two-day possibility of rain in the forecast.