NBC meteorologist Dylan Dreyer, a mother of three, makes debut in LPGA Tournament of Champions celebrity division, where Annika Sorenstam leads

ORLANDO — In a way, playing golf in the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions felt a bit like being on the “Today” Plaza for NBC meteorologist Dylan Dreyer. At least when it came to taking selfies and talking to fans on a sun-splashed day.

Dreyer, 41, is one of 56 celebrities competing in the LPGA’s season-opener with husband Brian Fichera, an NBC News producer and cameraman on the bag. Fichera is the one who introduced Dreyer to golf when they started dating in 2010 while working together at WHDH in Boston.

“Now, she’s gotten so great,” said Fichera, “I don’t give her strokes anymore. We’re playing straight up from now on. She’s an athlete.”

Of course, casual golf hits a little different than a round alongside LPGA pros and professional athletes across all sports. Coming out of the cold in New York City, the mother of three boys – Calvin, 6, Oliver, 3, and Rusty 1 – felt overwhelmed from the start at the first LPGA TOC.

“When I’m in the studio, you could throw any curveball at me and I can talk through it, that’s my wheelhouse,” said Dreyer, “that’s what I can do, whether it’s a storm, whatever. This, I can’t pull myself out of it.”

NBC's Today
NBC's Today

Dylan Dreyer, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Sheinelle Jones on the set of NBC’s Today on Dec. 7, 2022, in New York. (Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images)

Annika Sorenstam, the greatest player in the modern era who won 72 times on the LPGA and happens to live on the 16th hole at host course Lake Nona Golf and Country Club, leads the celebrity division with 39 points in the Stableford format.

Brooke Henderson, the winningest Canadian golfer in history, leads the LPGA field of 29 players after a 5-under 67. World No. 2 Nelly Korda trails by one.

Dreyer captained the field hockey and softball teams in high school and got hooked on golf during the couple’s dating years. The instructor that she hired in those early years approached their lessons scientifically, and Dreyer enjoyed learning about the physics behind the swing.

“I grasped that,” she said, “because that’s how my brain works. And I fell in love with it immediately.”

Three kids later, however, it’s often tough to get in more than one round of golf a month, especially with Dreyer working morning shifts on the “Today” and Fichera working evening shifts at NBC News.

“We’re passing ships around 10 a.m.,” said Fichera.

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To prepare for this event, Dreyer played mini-golf for her 3-year-old son’s birthday – his request. Her two oldest children adore the game and spend a good deal of time on their putting mat.

“There’s a little chip-and-putt out by our house,” she said. “We can take them out there and it’s $5 to play. We play a best ball within the family.”

Two of three times that Dreyer has competed in the American Century Championship celebrity event in Lake Tahoe, she has played pregnant. Last year in Tahoe, she was eight months removed from the birth of her youngest. Dreyer believes she actually plays better when pregnant.

“My arms are forced to stay out,” she said. “And if you see the pictures, it’s funny, my belly has shifted before my body has shifted. It’s like that whole medicine ball theory.”

2022 the American Century Championship
2022 the American Century Championship

NBC Meteorologist Dylan Dreyer at the 2022 the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Stateline, Nevada. (Photo: Isaiah Vazquez/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)

Dreyer is one of four women in a celebrity division that includes Super Bowl and World Series champions and NBA All-Stars. What advice would she give to women who might not feel their games are good enough to accept an invitation to get out and play?

“I think that’s why it’s great that I’m here,” she said. “I have a very public job, so people recognize me to know who I am. I love to do it, and I’m not good at it. If you enjoy doing something, go out and do it. Who cares what other people think?

“I interviewed Justin Thomas once, and I was really nervous, because we were going to play a few holes together. I was really nervous, and he said, ‘Listen, you’re not going to impress me.’ I was like, ‘That’s the best thing you could have said.'”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek