STILLWATER — Pernilla Lindberg can’t wait for the NCAA golf championships to arrive at Karsten Creek Golf Club later this month.
The 31-year-old played her last round of collegiate golf eight years ago, but when the NCAA women’s tournament begins on May 18, Lindberg will finally get to show her LPGA peers the course she’s been telling them about.
Karsten Creek will get dozens of hours of television time on NBC’s Golf Channel, which will provide live broadcasts of both the men’s and women’s events from Oklahoma State’s home course.
“My first two years on tour, I still based myself in Stillwater because I didn’t want to leave this place,” said Lindberg, the former OSU star and recent LPGA major championship winner who returned to Karsten Creek for Thursday’s media day for the NCAA championships.
“It tests every part of your game, and especially makes you mentally strong.”
Current Cowgirl Kenzie Neisen is thrilled for the chance to showcase her school’s golf home as well. Though the NCAA has played multiple men’s events at Karsten Creek, this will be the first women’s championship on the course.
“We’re excited to for everybody to come out here and see what it’s like, because we feel like it’s a hidden gem,” said Neisen, who will lead the Cowgirls into competition at their NCAA regional in San Francisco next week. “We want to see what other people think about it, because we go out there and it can still kick our butts sometimes.”
Karsten Creek will be the star of the show early in the event, before giving way to the competition. The women’s tournament will be held May 18-23, and the men will wrap up the action May 25-30, with the host Cowboys coming in as the top-ranked team, and Oklahoma entering as the defending champion.
The Sooners host a regional at Jimmie Austin Golf Club in Norman from May 14-16 to earn their spot at the NCAA championships, so coach Ryan Hybl isn’t getting ahead of himself. But if the Sooners make it to Karsten, he hopes it turns out better than his last two trips there.
“I played here in the 2003 championship. Miserable experience for myself,” Hybl said. “I coached here in 2011. That was our first championship with me as the golf coach at Oklahoma, and that wasn’t a great experience either. So maybe this year we’re gonna have a better experience here.”
The Cowboys, with eight wins in 11 events this season, including seven in a row at one point, expect a boost at the home course.
“The expectations on our team are the same no matter where we’re going, but you’re always more comfortable at home,” coach Alan Bratton said. “Seeing some friendly faces in the crowd, a familiar venue — that’s nothing but an advantage.”
The course won’t look significantly different than it did at the 2011 championship, but it has had some work done in preparation for the upcoming tournaments.
“We redid all the grass on the tee boxes,” he said. “It’s a different strain of zoysia we’ve put in that’s a little tighter. You can keep it a little firmer. We redid all the bunkers. We had some areas that were eroding away, so we added a couple retaining walls, rebuild bridges.
“And then we had to round up volunteers for two weeks. That’s one thing we’ve never done before, host back-to-back. It’s been exciting to see all of our volunteers turn out.”

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