Indian Open: Emily Pedersen clings to lead and stays in hunt for title

Emily KristineGurgaon: Rookie Emily Kristine Pedersen of Denmark staved off a strong challenge from compatriot Malene Jorgensen and Becky Morgan of Wales, carding one-over 73 to retain her lead after the second round of the Hero Women’s Indian Open 2015 here today. The $400,000 event is being played at the DLF Golf and Country Club and will culminate on Sunday.

Trailing Emily by one shot is seasoned Becky Morgan who ended with a total score of 144 after 36 holes. Malene Jorgensen is in third position with a total score of 145 after completion of two rounds.

The tournament did not turn out to be a particularly memorable one for the Indian field, as only four of them survived the cut. Amateur Aditi Ashok improved on her first round performance to shoot one-over 73 on the second day and climbed up the leaderboard from tied 19th to tied 11th position. Vani Kapoor too carded a respectable 1 over 73 in tricky conditions to end the day at 27th on the leaderboard. The other two Indians to make it to the final round were Saaniya Sharma and Smriti Mehra. Hero MotoCorp sponsored Sharmila Nicollet, Vaishavi Sinha and Neha Tripathi were the prominent faces who missed the cut. Another highlight of the day was a hole-in-one by Thai golfer Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul on the fifth hole.

Eyeing her maiden title, the 19 year old from Copenhagen avoided taking too many risks and played a controlled round, maintaining her single shot lead. She carded a lone birdie on the 4th hole against two bogies on the 5th and 14th to end with a total of 143.

The rookie from Denmark who is in contention to win the Rookie Player of the Year award on the LET circuit, said, “My approach to the game was the same as yesterday. I hit 12 fairways today but didn’t hole a lot of putts. My driving was much better but putting wasn’t good as on 18th, 13th, 11th, ninth and seventh I missed putts from two to three feet. I made one birdie on the fourth from 15 feet. I don’t know how others will play tomorrow but I have to keep playing good. I want to make more putts in order to win.”

Aditi, who teed off today from the 10thhole, had a shaky start as she dropped consecutive shots on the 13th and 14th. However, she staged a comeback and carded a birdie on the 15thhole. A bogey on the fourth pegged her back but she ended the round on a positive note with a birdie on the eighth hole.

Aditi said, “I played same as yesterday. Yesterday, the only mistake I made was a double bogey on 18th hole. Today, I dropped two bogeys on back nine -- 13th and 14th. On 13th, I hit a greenside bunker and made up and down. On 14th, I hit in the rough and chipped and putt. I set up a birdie on 15th, then bogeyed par-5 fourth. A par-5 is generally a birdie hole so I could have saved a shot there.”

LPGA star Cheyenne Woods played one of the best rounds of the day, firing three under 69 to jump into tied 4th position after the end of the penultimate round. She carded four birdies on the 9th, 10th, 13th and 16th with a lone blemish on the 3rd to finish with a total of 146 after two rounds. The professional from USA with the famous surname looked in control today and will push hard for a victory tomorrow. Among other notable players, defending champion Gwladys Nocera and English professional Melissa Reid are placed at tied 38th position with identical totals of 153 after the second round.