Piller to play in tourney ahead of maternity sabbatical

Gerina Piller plans to play in the Diamond Resorts Invitational Jan. 12-14 before taking a sabbatical from the LPGA Tour to give birth to her first child, a baby boy due May 3.

Piller, 32, said she played more golf in December than she normally does, and the three-time Solheim Cup member said she will join LPGA players Brittany Lang, Brittany Lincicome, Brooke Henderson and Paula Creamer at next week’s event, which is part of the PGA Tour’s Champions Tour.

The five LPGA Tour players will be joined by 27 Champions Tour players in the field, along with 52 sports and celebrity stars. The tournament at the Tranquilo Golf Club in the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando features separate purses totaling $1.2 million. The professionals play for $750,000, while the celebrities compete for $500,000 in a Modified Stableford scoring format.

It is the final competitive golf Piller, who is married to PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, is planning to play before giving birth to the couple’s first child. She said it was a “no-brainer” to play in the event, which raises money for the Florida Hospital for Children.

“I want to stay active and see what this belly of mine will do to my swing,” Piller told USA Today. “I’ve lost a ton of distance. And there are some really bad shots that kind of sneak up now and then that I have no explanation for. My equilibrium is a little off. I picture a better shot in my mind or my body doing something and then I swing and I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s not what I was expecting.”

Piller will not play on the LPGA Tour in 2018, but does not plan to retire.

“I’ve played sports for as long as I can remember and this will be the first year I won’t be playing a sports,” Piller told USA Today. “It’s going to be interesting and hard. But at the same time we’re welcoming our first child and that is very special to us. I’m definitely going to miss golf. I already do. The work you put in, the preparation, we get to go to pretty great places, seeing my friends, the competition.

“I definitely plan on coming back.”

–Field Level Media

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