Making it through all three stages of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament is a rare accomplishment. Of the 74 players teeing it up in Dothan, Ala. at week two of Q-Series, only 11 have played in all three stages of Q-School this year, one of whom is amateur Karen Fredgaard. The University of Houston standout eked her way into the top-70 and ties last week, finishing at +1 after rounds of 75-71-69-72 to make the cut on the number at Magnolia Grove in Mobile. It was a nervy Sunday for Fredgaard as she waited to find out her fate, and she comes to the second of two long weeks relieved and happy to have a shot at making it to the LPGA Tour.
“I tried to focus on the different shots and tell myself if I do the best I can, that's all I can do. If I make it, I'll make it. It's not the end of the world,” she said of week one of Q-Series. “It’s a great experience playing in all of the different stages. You notice that the level is so much stronger now. It's just a good, great field. It's a big experience being here and trying it all out. I just tried it out in the first stage and now I'm all the way here. So it's a lot of fun out there, and to play in one of the strongest fields I've ever played in with pros and all of that, it's different, but I like it a lot.”
The 22-year-old from Copenhagen, Denmark isn’t the only Dane in this field this week at Highlands Oaks. She’s joined by Emily K. Pedersen and Nicole Broch Estrup, both of whom have experience on the LPGA Tour. Fredgaard hasn’t been shy about picking their brains about life on Tour and how to handle the pressure of professional golf.
“I played with (Nicole) in the practice rounds last week and this week. I’ve been talking with her about it, and she's a really good player and she has a lot of experience from playing on the tour so talking to her about all of the small details and the practical stuff has helped out a lot. She's definitely one that I look up to,” Fredgaard said. “And also Emily that's here and Nanna that's already on the tour. (Emily) is here with the national coach, so I know him and I've talked to them a little bit. But she's kind of doing her own thing, too, because it's very important to them. They are under a lot of pressure. But I know that I can always come with any questions that I have to all of them, so I appreciate that.”
With her father on the bag this week in just his second time caddying in an event for his daughter — the first being at Stage II where she finished T29 to advance — Fredgaard is feeling comfortable in Lower Alabama. Every player has a singular aspiration in mind at week two, but for Karen, her goals extend well beyond earning professional status and are focused more on mindset than results.
“Some of my personal goals are definitely to enjoy it because it's the last tournament of the year, of this season,” said Fredgaard. “Just staying calm under pressure and not being too hard on myself and accepting the bad stuff or the bad thoughts that might come in and if I play bad, just tell myself that I made it this far and I've played really well. Just be proud of that and just stay positive and enjoy it.”