Six months pregnant, Blair O’Neal contending against all-male field
Instagram star and Golf Channel host Blair O’Neal is playing for two at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions this week, and at six months pregnant with her first child, a boy, the 38-year-old is holding her own against an all-male celebrity field.
As an official LPGA event, the tournament features 72 holes of stroke play for an invitational field of 26 professionals, who must have won an event in the previous two seasons to qualify to play. Joining the professionals on the course are 49 invited celebrities, who are playing for their own $500,000 purse using a modified Stableford format.
O’Neal is competing in the latter format, and her three-round tally of 96 points (rounds of 74-74-77) currently has her in solo 7th place. She trails tournament leader John Smoltz by 15 points heading into the final round.
O’Neal is an accomplished player who competed collegiately at Arizona State, then on the Symetra Tour, and even won a season of Golf Channel’s Big Break. But she acknowledges that playing a round with a baby on board is a different kettle of fish.
“Now I’ve got to get this baby though the swing!” O’Neal told Golf Channel’s Damon Hack after her second round, with a laugh. “I have all this extra weight here, he’s really popped, and he doesn’t let me hit the ball as far, so I’m having to hit like two clubs more than I normally do, so that’s a bit of an adjustment. But I’m just going with it.”
Golf Channel analyst Karen Stupples, who gave birth to a son in 2007, can relate. “I found what you lose in distance, you gain in short game when you’re pregnant,” she said of O’Neal’s performance. “She is finding that out this week.”
O’Neal may be hitting it shorter than she’s used to, but her swing still looks fantastic.
Round 1 ✅ ⛳️ Happy with today. It was a hot day out there but we made 33 points & am in 13th. 3 birdies, lots of water/snacks, using my tall caddy for shade whenever possible.... & now ready for a 😴 nap! Thanks for all the supportive messages💙 🤰🏼🏌🏼♀️— Blair O'Neal (@BLAIRONEAL) January 16, 2020
—>> https://t.co/VteWVkJ5K7 pic.twitter.com/ycV4pi7mCl
You can watch TV coverage of Sunday’s final round of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET on Golf Channel, and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET on NBC.
To receive GOLF’s newsletters, subscribe for free here.