Pernilla Lindberg is in France aiming for a second Major of 2018 and hoping to become the second straight Swedish player to lift the Evian Championship trophy, following the success of her compatriot Anna Nordqvist 12 months ago.
Although Lindberg’s best finish in her five previous starts at Evian was 41st in 2014, the world no.39 brings a more confident mindset after becoming a first-time major champion at the 2018 ANA Inspiration in California in April.
She told the media, on Tuesday: “Obviously I would be very excited to win any other major besides my ANA. But being on European soil I guess would feel like you’re a little closer to your home fans. With the time difference, everyone in Sweden wouldn’t have to sit up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning to watch me grind it out, so that makes it a little more special, just being a little closer to home and a little easier for family to get here, too. Hopefully there’ll be a few more Swedish fans out there in general.”
She is also one of six players in the running for the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award, for the best performance across all five majors in 2018, but would need a victory to claim the accolade and commented: “It’s obviously a really cool award because it just awards the best performance in our biggest events. So to even have my name on that list, it’s obviously a bigger goal than I probably had set for myself this year.
“I know I have to go out and do one more spectacular week this week to get that award. But, no, it gives me a special kind of boost just knowing that I’m in the running for it. I mean, with Annika’s name on there, any time you can put your name kind of next to Annika’s in any kind of way in the golf world I think you have done something good.”
Pernilla first played at Evian in 2012, when the championship was still the Evian Masters and she enjoys the challenge of the golf course, which was remodelled ahead of the inaugural Evian Championship in 2013.
“You know, the course has some really tough par 4s out there, some scorable par-5s, and it’s a good mix of holes. You really need to have all parts of your game ready to go. You need to strike the ball well. Obviously you need to putt well. You need to do that everywhere to play good golf, but the short game is going to be tested, so that’s why I think it’s a good major championship.”
She said the biggest surprise of the last six months has been the number of people who recognise her away from the golf course and especially at airports, such as LAX.
“They all want to share their story about where they were when they were watching me win. That’s probably been the biggest surprise, just having that recognition.
“I’ve had few people come up in airports and things like that, and that’s just never been a part of my life before.”
However, she remains focused and has clear goals for the next two seasons.
“Two of the major goals that really keep me motivated is next year’s Solheim Cup and the Olympics in the following year. Those are the two things that make me go out there and work hard every day.
“Obviously after a win it’s been more brought to my attention. I’ve been very close to be on the team the last few times but not played well enough down the stretch. I’ve learned a lot from that.”
After being compared to Sergio Garcia, who won the Masters in April 2017, a year ahead of The Ryder Cup, and later received a captain’s pick from Thomas Bjorn despite making only eight cuts from 22 starts in 2018, she said: “Hopefully I can just take care of business myself.
“I want to play my way on the team and not have to rely on a pick. I think if it comes down to a pick you can’t really expect anything.”
For now, her attentions will be turned to the 2018 Evian Championship and she will tee off with the Olympic gold medallist Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu on Thursday at 1.10pm.