Denmark’s Emily Pedersen and Germany’s Alexander Matlari had distinctly different preparations for the Doral Publix Junior Classic that concluded Sunday at Trump National Doral Golf Resort & Spa.
Pedersen, 16, practiced back home in Denmark, the weather forcing her indoors for the past 2 1/2 months and limiting her to hitting golf balls into a net. Meanwhile, Matlari, 18, fled the weather of his native Germany and was spending 10 days in balmy California playing in a junior tournament.
Both preparations proved effective as Pedersen won the girls’ title in the 16-18 age group and Matlari captured the boys’ title.
“It was cold back home, so I love coming to Miami to play in this tournament,” said Pedersen, who was making her third trip to the Doral Publix. She won by one stroke with a 74-70-71—215 total for the three rounds, getting a par on the final hole as runner-up Lakareber Abe took a bogey.
“I had a two-foot putt to win it,” Pedersen said. “I was nervous when I was lining up the ball but not when I got over it. Then I pushed it and I thought I had missed it.” Fortunately for Pedersen, the ball slid in on the edge.
Pedersen’s plans are to finish high school in Denmark “And then I’m planning to go to school over here in the U.S. I definitely want to go to college and eventually play on the LPGA Tour.”
Meanwhile, she’ll continue to study physics, her favorite subject and a likely major for her in college.
Pedersen was one of the few athletes Sunday not wearing a cap amid the bright sun and windy conditions. When she finished, her hair was — to put it not-so-politely — a bit frizzy. She laughed and agreed.
So, Emily, why not wear a cap? She confessed. “I don’t like my ears, so I can cover them up with my hair.”
Like Pedersen, Matlari also will be going to college in the United States and already has signed with Duke.
“I was looking for a school with good academics and a good golf team and Duke has both,” he said.
Matlari has played in the Doral Publix event for seven consecutive years.
“It’s always good to be here in the winter time,” he said.
Matlari started the day on the Blue Monster course with a two-shot lead over Danny Guise and ended the round with the same margin, shooting a 2-under 70 for a 3-under 213 total. Guise also shot 70 for a 1-under 215 total. The back nine was key to Matlari as he made four birdies without a bogey after making two bogeys and no birdies on the front.
Seven years in a row is a long time to be making the trip to Miami, but Matlari said he enjoys the atmosphere of the city.
“The Miami area has such a mixed culture,” he said. “It makes it interesting and fun. Even on the golf course in this tournament there is a big mixed culture. ... That’s enjoyable, talking and learning from people of other cultures.”
• Jorge Villar of Howey-in-the-Hills won the boys’ 14-15 title with rounds of 72, 72 and 67 for a 211 total.
Stefano Butti of Palm City was second at 73-71-71—215. Cecilie Bofill of Denmark took the girls’ 14-15 title with a 75-76-69—215. Valenzuela Albane of Switzerland was second with a 77-70-69—216.