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Tournament of Champions a thrill for first-time LPGA winners

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Being invited to the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions is a special way to start the season, all the more for those who won their first career LPGA event in 2018.

Pernilla Lindberg’s first tour title came at the ANA Inspiration, after a two-day, eight-hole playoff against Inbee Park.

An initial triumph is always nice, but making your maiden win a major? “It was better than I could have ever dreamt of,” Lindberg said.

This is Linberg’s 10th year on tour. For every campaign she sets a goal to win, and for the first eight – nothing. Then came season No. 9, and with it not only a win, but one of the biggest in her sport.


Full-field tee times from Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions


Along with the trophy, the Rolex watch, and the recognition that comes with winning, Lindberg said the best part of it all was proving to herself that she can win.

“I’ve known on the inside that I’m capable of [winning], but to be able to show the world, that was one of the biggest changes for me,” she added.

“I’ve proven to myself that I can win at the highest level. That’s big.”

In all, there were nine first-time winners on the LPGA last season, all of which are in this week’s field.

One of those in attendance is Gaby Lopez. She won her first LPGA tour event at the Blue Bay LPGA, joining Hall of Famer Lorena Ochoa as the only LPGA champions from Mexico.

Lopez, a standout collegiate player at the University of Arkansas, said the biggest thing she learned from her first victory was, not only could she beat the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world, but she could overcome self-doubt.

“That was the biggest win. To be able to overcome so many fears and doubts that popped into my mind,” Lopez said.

That triumph came in the season’s penultimate event. So, after a quick offseason, it’s back to work to try and pick up win No. 2.

“Just because I won one time doesn’t mean I’ll win again,” she said. “You have to earn it.”

As for advice to those trying to accomplish what she did last November, and what Lindberg did at the year’s first major, Lopez said simply, “Trust that your moment is gonna come.”