Eagle Eyed and Excellent

With a challenging recovery in her rearview mirror, Pedersen is eager to get back into the swing of it for her senior season.

Kyle Christian

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Most people play golf as a stress reliever; it is something people can do with their buddies on a Sunday afternoon and afterwards go home and move on with their day. For senior Emily Pedersen, however, it is a lifestyle.

“I try to give 110 percent effort all the time,” Pedersen said. “I get really hard on myself so I am always trying extremely hard to please myself.”

Along with the pressure she places on herself, Pedersen has also faced physical challenges throughout her career. Last year, she had a serious knee injury that ended her golf season.

“My knee challenges me the most because I had to skip a whole year of sports due to my ACL, MCL and meniscus tear,” Pedersen said. “I worked hard in physical therapy to have more strength than I did before tearing it.”

Pedersen had a really hard time getting back into the swing of things after her knee injury and was always skeptical about whether or not she would be able to compete at the same level she did prior to it. Despite the skepticism she continued working on her knee and her golfing ability until it finally paid off for her.

“I went to the driving range for the first time since my injury and realized I still had it in me,” Pedersen said. “All my hard work [at physical therapy] paid off.”

Since she has been back, Pedersen has learned a lot of lessons that she keeps in mind everyday when she’s on the golf course.

“I always tell Emily to stay focused, relax and visualize each shot and look at the risk over reward,” coach Bill Hamill said.

Sometimes the stress of returning back to the swing of things is hard for Pedersen. Luckily for her, she has friends that are able to help her laugh and stay positive.

“Inside of school we love to make TikToks with her during our Spanish class,” senior Paige Bolton said. “Outside of school we love to hang out and get food at different places with all of our friends.”

Pedersen’s bubbly personality makes her willing to stop whatever she is doing in order to help someone that is in need, a skill that helped her gain a leadership role on the team. Growing up she was told that the golden rule is to treat people how you want to be treated. Not only does she help the new members of the golf team out if they ever ask for tips or tricks that they can use not only on the course, but off the course as well.

“She is a leader because she is always making sure new players feel welcome and that they interact well with returning players,” Hamill said.

Pedersen is also a person that will give advice to her friends when she feels they need it. For senior Miranda Chamberlin, one of her close friends, she is always there for her.

“She wants to be a psychiatrist when she’s older so she doesn’t mind talking through people’s problems,” Chamberlin said. “She listens and gives me advice about what she thinks would be right.”

As Pedersen progresses through her final year and moves on to college, she will have a lot of experience, not only from her successes, but also through her challenges that will help her advance rapidly through college.

For her, golf is not something to be taken for granted; it’s not just a sport to help her keep in shape or to get cum laude, she does it because she has been interested in it for a very long time. Her dad is the varsity girls golf coach at Libertyville High School. Through him, she has developed her passion for golf.

After watching her dad practicing golf, she has been practicing non-stop and it has paid off; Pedersen is now one of the top golfers on the girls golf team and has gained a lot of respect from her coach, teammates and friends.

Even though this is her last season, this is the time when Pedersen really has to push herself in order to truly become the best she can be on the golf course.

“I would love to see Emily qualify for sectionals because she has worked hard and deserves the honor,” Hamill said.

As her high school golf career comes to an end, Pedersen has decided to not continue playing golf at the collegiate level, but instead take the life lessons she has learned from golf and apply it to her life.