KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY: Danish star Emily Kristine Pedersen has shown she isn’t done yet, threatening to pull off a Saudi sweep following another sparkling display on Wednesday in the Saudi Teams International golf tournament individual race.
Fresh off her victory in a tense playoff with England’s Georgia Hall in the $1 million Aramco Saudi Ladies International at the weekend, the talented Pedersen shot a 6-under 66 in glorious sunshine at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.
Pedersen’s second-round effort to go with a first round 69 gave her a two-day total of 135 to sit one back of Spain’s Luna Sobron Galmes.
The Spaniard charged to the top of the leaderboard after matching the women’s course record of 65 that Hall and Caroline Hedwall of Sweden registered in succession during the first two days of the SLI.
More importantly, the 24-year-old Pedersen and her team of Michele Thomson (Scotland) and Cassandra Hall (RSA) are the leaders (-27) with one round to go at the 54-hole Ladies European Tour event.
The event has a prize fund of $500,000, with $300,000 up for grabs in the four-team two-to-count competition and $200,000 in the individual section.
“We are loving playing together and having a good time,” said Thomson.
“It’s a great new event. We’re here for Emily to make all the birdies and us to make all the pars. It gives us a confidence boost that she (Pedersen) picked us, and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Two shots back are Team Nuutinen (-25), with Team De Roey, Team Engstrom and Team Henry all firmly in contention at 23-under after taking advantage of some rare favorable afternoon scoring conditions.
Sustaining her strong performance, Galmes leads the individual contest by one shot on 10-under 134 total. The 26-year-old had a pitched-in eagle from 73 yards on 17, while also posting seven birdies with a red-hot putter.
“I’m very happy with my round,” she said.”The key was my putter, but you also have to be accurate with your long game on this course. I’m not thinking if I can win either event or not — I’m just playing my game.”
Pedersen said: “My focus is on the team this week and I am going to do my best regardless, for the team or the individual, and I hope I can keep making birdies and we can get it done as a team tomorrow.”
Long-hitting Dutchwoman Anne van Dam and first-round leader Sanna Nuutinen of Finland are within striking distance of the leaders on 7-under and 6-under, with English star Charley Hull on -5.
On a drama-filled day, SLI runner-up Hall recovered from a poor opening day with a superb ball striking to match her own course record of 65 and finish on 4-under.
“I found putting the disappointment of last week behind me hard, especially with such a quick turnaround,” said Hall.
“It’s obviously quite a different format of things and to be honest my head really wasn’t quite in it yesterday. I did play very well today, so it was good to get a very low round in. I kind of needed it after yesterday.”