DUBAI // As role models go, Charley Hull is not that bad a person from which to draw inspiration.
The teenage talent is already a leading light in the women's game, having blazed a trail at the 2013 Solheim Cup before deservedly sealing that season's Ladies European Tour Rookie-of-the-Year award at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.
Last year, she clinched the circuit’s Order of Merit here, too, making it a pretty impressive Dubai double, and all before her 19th birthday.
It has therefore become a source of motivation for a Danish twosome seeking to follow in her FootJoys. Emily Kristine Pedersen, 19, and Nanna Koerstz Madsen, 21, are involved in a straight shoot-out for the rookie title this week at Emirates Golf Club, when the tour’s season-concluding event draws the curtain on 2015.
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Sitting either side of Hull at yesterday’s press briefing, the pair did not have far to look for some supplementary stimulus.
Typically concise, Hull laid out the importance of winning first-year honours.
“It was a big thing for me because you can obviously do it only once,” Hull said. “I was quite nervous coming into that week, because it was tight with me going up against Holly Clyburn. But it was great when I won it and a good thing to have on your CV.”
Pedersen is favourite to add to her resume in Dubai. She leads the seasonal race by €32,434 (Dh128,814), thanks in large part to a first professional victory at October’s Indian Open, meaning Madsen must finish at least third and hope her fellow countrywomen wilts in the desert.
Madsen knows her rankings rival well, since they came out of the same golf club in Smoerum, Denmark, have been acquaintances for a decade or more and adversaries on the course for quite a while now, as well.
As it transpired yesterday, the pair’s relationship does not really extend beyond that. So compatriots, long-time competitors and rookie-of-the-year contenders – it certainly adds a little extra spice to the mix at the Majlis. “We are used to that,” Madsen said. “I don’t think this is any different from the amateur years. We just like to beat each other and be the best.”
Currently, that is Pedersen. She sits in pole position, but predictably is trying to treat this week like any other. The tournament trophy takes priority; everything else is just extra cherry on the Christmas cake.
“Rookie of the year is not really my focus at the moment,” Pedersen said. “I just want to go into this tournament as if it’s another one, hoping for the win. But it would be a bonus if that came with it.
“I’ll do my best and if the best is not enough, then that’s not enough.”
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