A 'champ's putt' by grinder Lindberg

Pernilla Lindberg's caddie takes the perfect dive into Poppie's Pond, as the Swedish golfer and her parents Jan and Gunilla follow suit after she won the ANA Inspiration. She edged out seven-time Major winner Park In Bee in a marathon eight-hole play
Pernilla Lindberg's caddie takes the perfect dive into Poppie's Pond, as the Swedish golfer and her parents Jan and Gunilla follow suit after she won the ANA Inspiration. She edged out seven-time Major winner Park In Bee in a marathon eight-hole play-off to clinch her maiden Major title.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Nothing in unheralded golfer Pernilla Lindberg's resume suggested that she would become the wire-to-wire ANA Inspiration champion on Monday.

In 249 previous professional appearances, she had never tasted victory. The Swede registered only a handful of top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour after more than 180 tournaments. Her previous best finish at a Major was a share of fifth at the 2015 US Women's Open. But the 31-year-old had a feeling she would realise her childhood dream.

"I just know I'm a grinder. Towards the end yesterday, I felt 'This is mine, I'm going to do this'," said the world No. 95 after winning on the eighth hole of a play-off duel with South Korean star Park In Bee.

"I just knew I could so I just kept fighting away."

She drained a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-four 10th to set up her victory at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.

Her birdie left Park needing to make an awkward 10-footer but the 2013 champion missed.

"The putt Pernilla made on the last (hole) was a champion's putt," the seven-time Major champion said. "You really can't beat that."

The play-off restarted at just past 8am local time on Monday after Lindberg and Park finished in near-darkness on Sunday, unable to land a decisive blow through four extra holes. By then, American Jennifer Song had exited the three-way fight after the trio finished 72 holes at 15-under 273.

Lindberg, however, had seen the light long before play resumed.

"I remember writing some goals when I got to high school, the dream scenario and it would be to win a Major championship and leave a mark in history," said Lindberg, who celebrated by plunging into Poppie's Pond with her parents and Daniel Taylor, her caddie and fiance. "That felt like too big of a dream to even come true, but it has."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2018, with the headline 'A 'champ's putt' by grinder Lindberg'. Print Edition | Subscribe