Though Nelly Korda’s 62 stole the show on the second day of the Olympic Women’s Golf event, the team of two from Denmark conquered Kasumigaseki Country Club in their own way, soaring up the leaderboard. Nanna Koerstz Madsen, in her second Olympic Games, and Emily Pedersen, making her debut, burned up the course amid blazing temperatures as both vie for their first Olympic medals.
Koerstz Madsen got off to a hot start on her front nine, recording birdies on Nos. 3, 5, 6 and 7 and finishing off her run of solid play with an eagle on No. 8. A bogey before the turn set her back one, but she was able to post two more birdies on the closing nine to finish with a second-round 64. After three birdies, an eagle and two bogeys in her first 10 holes, Pedersen was able to bring it home with five birdies in the final eight holes. Together, the Danes jumped up into a tie for second with India’s Aditi Ashok at -9 overall.
They’re only one of two teams with all members in the top 10, joining Australia with Hannah Green (8th) and Minjee Lee (T9). “I knew I had the game. I knew my putting was good if I just trusted it. So, it just all depends that it all adds up at once and it kind of did today,” said Koerstz Madsen, who finished T13 back at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Though the two may not be the closest of friends, Koerstz Madsen and Pedersen were almost side-by-side coming up through the world of junior golf in Denmark to now representing their nation on one of the world’s biggest stages.
“We played junior golf together so we're from the same golf club, actually. Our parents live 500 meters from each other. So, we have grown up together and kind of followed each other all the way,” said Pedersen. “I think we have always pushed each other. Obviously, when you grow up, we started, I was 10 and Nanna was 12 when I started and we kind of always have been pushing each other, competing and I think that's one of the reasons we're both so good and it's been a good environment to grow up in, having someone to push you a lot.”
With tropical storms looming, the International Golf Federation has warned of a potential reduction to 54 holes, but all parties are keen on completing as a 72-hole competition. Koerstz Madsen said she wants to finish it out as a four-round event but knows Mother Nature is never to be messed with playing an outdoor sport.
Pedersen agreed. “If there's one thing I've learned, or I feel like with golf is that you can’t force it. But I just tried to do my best on every shot,” she said. “Obviously I knew that if you have three rounds to catch up four shots and two rounds to catch up four shots you want to kind of make a move. But I feel like you mentally have to be in a place where you give yourself a chance to do that and I feel like I was today.”