Lindberg to take on men in NZ

Pernilla Lindberg
Pernilla Lindberg is playing against the men in the NZ Open. Photo: Getty


Swedish major winner Pernilla Lindberg shot an opening 70 at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open today, then confirmed that she will play against the men in the New Zealand Open.

The 33-year-old Swede was intending to be in New Zealand on holiday with her husband Daniel Taylor to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, and received an invitation to play at Millbrook Resort from 27 February.

The invitation came about because the LPGA Tour’s Blue Bay tournament in China has been cancelled, as well as events in Thailand and Singapore, leaving a gap in the women’s schedule.

“A few different things,” she said today when she was asked about her motivation. “My love for New Zealand to start off. I’ve been there quite a few times and fell in love with it back in 2010, 2011 when I was there playing the LET (Ladies European Tour) events and we decided to get married there last year. We just celebrated our first anniversary, January 31 and decided that the week before China Blue Bay we were going to go to New Zealand in the lead up to China.

“Obviously, China is not happening anymore, but we said, sure, let’s still go to New Zealand and then we were talking with someone from New Zealand that we know during the Boca (Florida) event and he said, you know, that’s actually the week of the men’s New Zealand Open. I said, ‘no’. I had no idea.

“He said, ‘I know the tournament organisers, let me reach out and see if they want you to play’. It’s a pro-am format, it’s kind of like Pebble Beach, Dunhill Links, so when he said that, I wasn’t even sure if he kind of met as a celebrity or as a pro. So, then they got back to us, the tournament director and he gave me a sponsor invite and wanted me to play, asked one of the pros, and tee it up against the men.

“He said ‘it’s the New Zealand Open, it’s not the men’s Open, it’s the Open’, so he said if we wanted to play, ‘sure you can do it’. But it’s going to be an incredible challenge. I’m not going to set any kind of goals for myself, but I’m really going to soak in the week.”

Lindberg won the ANA Inspiration, the first women’s major of the season, in 2018, her first win on the LPGA Tour. She is ranked 167th in the world.

She will play off the men’s tees in Millbrook, where she will become the first woman to play in the NZ Open, which is part of the Australasian PGA Tour.  

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ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open
Pos.CountryPlayer TotalToday
1 KOR I.Park -141
2 USA A.Olson -11-3
3 FRA P.Delacour -100
T4 USA M.Alex -92
T4 CHN Y.Liu -90
T6 FRA C.Boutier -82
T6 KOR A.Cho -84
T6 USA C.Kerr -8-4
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