Swedish golf star, Pernilla Lindberg will tee it up with the men when she competes in the 101st New Zealand Open in Queenstown later this month.
Lindberg, a Major winner, needed no encouragement to return to Queenstown, after she and husband Daniel Taylor fell in love with New Zealand, where they married a year ago.
The 2018 ANA Inspiration winner has been a regular on the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour for more than a decade after a stellar college career at Oklahoma State.
The 33-year-old is excited not only to return to a part of the world that is special to her, but to compete in a tournament that has, until now, featured male professionals.
“New Zealand is one of my favourite places in the world, and somewhere that is now very special to Daniel and myself. The opportunity to celebrate our first anniversary and combine it with a professional golf event was just too good to miss,” Lindberg said.
She will be the first female professional to compete in the New Zealand Open, to be staged at Millbrook Resort and The Hills from February 27.
“We live in an age that is now more open than ever to new ideas and innovation,” said tournament director Michael Glading. “The fact that Pernilla is happy to come and compete in what is traditionally a men’s event, makes this a very special addition to the tournament.
“We will pair her with All Black Beauden Barrett in the pro-am, which will give the spectators something quite special and unique,” Glading said.
“I’m really looking forward to the tournament and it’s great to be paired with a player of Pernilla’s ability. I’m sure it’ll be good fun and I hope I can learn a few things from her on the course,” Barrett said.
Lindberg has been one of the most consistent players on the LPGA, amassing more than $NZ4 million in prizemoney to date, with highlights that include playing for Sweden at the Rio Olympics and of course, the ANA Inspiration victory. She won after an exhausting eight extra holes after an initial three-way tie with American Jennifer Song and Korea’s Inbee Park.
She started playing golf at the age of three and credits Annika Sorenstam as the individual who influenced her career the most. As an amateur she was a key member of Sweden’s Espirito Santo Trophy winning team in 2008.
The New Zealand Open, presented by SKY Sport, is a co-sanctioned event with the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour, in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour will be live on the home of golf, Sky Sport 6 from February 27 to March 1.