Five months pregnant, Gerina Piller playing for fun at Diamond Resorts Invitational


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Gerina Piller used to dream of becoming the first female to compete in Major League Baseball. That didn’t happen, but in the first round of the Diamond Resorts Invitational, Piller played alongside three-time World Series champion Jon Lester of the Chicago Cubs and left-landed All-Star pitcher Mark Mulder, who won the celebrity division of this event last year. File it under stories she can one day tell her son. Piller, 32, is five months pregnant with her first child.

“I tried to keep my cool and be in awe as I watched them,” said Piller, who was a pitcher growing up.

Four LPGA players are competing this week and Brooke Henderson sits in a share for sixth after posting a 5-under 66, good for 28 points in the Stableford format. Brittany Lincicome (14), Brittany Lang (12) and Piller (13) round out LPGA scoring. Champions Tour player Scott Parel leads the professional field with 34 points and former tennis player Mardy Fish leads the celebrity division with 26 points.  

“I took a lot of time off the year previous and coming back was really tough for me,” Henderson said of her offseason. “I tried to be a little bit smarter about it this year. Every two or three days I hit some balls, practiced a little bit. I was able to decompress and relax but still keep my game sharp.”

When asked about her schedule for 2018, Piller jokingly said: “Usually, the schedule is when’s my next meal and when’s the next one after that?”

Actually, Piller plans to take off all of 2018 from the LPGA. She’ll instead watch husband Martin compete on the PGA Tour until it’s no longer safe to travel. She’s due May 3 and said her current pregnancy cravings center around cereal and bean and cheese burritos. 

“Everything that I ate before I got pregnant, I was super healthy,” said Piller. “Now if it’s healthy, I don’t want anything to do with it.”

It’s a long walk around Tranquilo Golf Club at the Four Seasons Resort. Piller took a breather in a marshal’s chair on the fifth tee. On the sixth tee she sat down on a cooler. The four LPGA players competing hit from the same tees as Champions Tour players and celebrities.

“We’re getting no mercy here,” said Piller, “which I think I’m going to protest. I want the little golf cart with the little flag.”

By No. 7, when the heavens opened and it poured, one had to wonder if a small part of Piller wasn’t asking herself why she didn’t have her feet up at home in Fort Worth.

Piller said she didn’t realize how much she relied on her core for power until she got pregnant.

“I don’t have quite the torque and rotation that I used to have,” she said.

One of the longest players on the LPGA, Piller has lost 40 yards off the tee and at least 15 yards with her irons. On the 440-yard par-4 15th, she hit a solid drive followed by a solid 3-wood and still came up 30 yards short of the green.

“Coming out here I didn’t have really high expectations,” she said, “just to have fun and kind of get me out of the house.”

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