Lindberg to become first female golfer at NZ Open

WELLINGTON (AFP) – Major winner Pernilla Lindberg will become the first woman golfer to compete at the New Zealand (NZ) Open today, ensuring her place in the 101-year-old tournament’s history regardless of results.

The Swede, who won the 2018 ANA Inspiration, was invited to compete with the men after organisers learned she already had plans to visit Queenstown.

Lindberg, ranked 178th in the women’s game, jumped at the chance to play in the picturesque South Island resort town where she married husband Daniel 12 months ago.

“The opportunity to celebrate our first anniversary and combine it with a professional golf event was just too good to miss,” the 33-year-old said.

Tournament director Michael Glading said Lindberg’s presence was a bid to introduce “new ideas” to the event.

“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,” he said.

The NZ Open, co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour, will be held at Millbrook Resort and The Hills from tomorrow to Sunday.

The first two days of the event are staged as a pro-am and will see Lindberg paired with All Blacks rugby star Beauden Barrett.

Female golfers have struggled playing against men at professional level.