Pedersen shares Saudi Ladies Pro-Am lead with Ko, Miyazato

U.S. Amateur champion Emily Pedersen posted a 6-under 64 for a share of the lead after the first round of the 2017 Saudi Ladies International Pro-Am.

The Swedish player carded five birdies on Friday and mixed in one bogey to start the round.

“It was a really nice morning with the wind blowing and a lot of good scores,” said Pedersen, who was the low amateur at The U.S. Women’s Open. “It’s a great start, but I’ve just got to do the same over the weekend.”

Top-ranked Lydia Ko, Ai Miyazato and Pornanong Phatlum shot 68s as did top-ranked amateur Alena Sharp. They were joined by Andee Cullen and Chanelle Scheepers, with the latter poised to become the first South African to win the event since Angel Fernandez-Castano in 2007.

Miyazato eagled the 11th after her second shot in the 123-player field went into the water and Pedersen birdied the 14th. The closest the rest of the field got to Pedersen was two shots before the Swede holed a 30-foot birdie putt at the next hole to go back to 7 under.

“(The birdie) felt really good,” Pedersen said. “The first time playing here, to start with a bogey, so there was a little bit of nerves early but then felt really comfortable.”

Phatlum birdied four holes before notching consecutive bogeys on 13 and 14. The world No. 14 escaped with bogey at 16, and then rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt at the final hole to finish in a six-way tie for second.

Ko had a roller-coaster round, opening with a birdie at the 10th, but then dropping strokes at the next four holes to bogey the next three, with six more pars before taking a double bogey at the last.

The English-based star finished one shot off the lead alongside Casey O’Toole, who birdied the 15th and 20th holes to move into contention, and Phatlum, who holed a 20-foot putt at the last.

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