Rydqvist won first collegiate Event at The Annika Intercollegiate at 8-under par; South Carolina went wire-to-wire to win first event of the season - Tampa Bay’s signature LPGA Tour event, The Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican to take place at Nov. 6-12 at Pelican Golf Club
BELLEAIR, Fla., Sept. 18, 2023 – South Carolina Junior All-American Louise Rydqvist will be competing against the world’s best professional golfers when she tees it up as a sponsor exemption in her first LPGA Tour event in November at The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican.
At the 2023 ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M, which concluded on Wednesday in Minnesota, a sponsor exemption to The ANNIKA was on the line to a player from this year’s winning team. South Carolina women’s golf coach Kalen Anderson selected Rydqvist as the recipient of the exemption. Rydqvist captured her first collegiate victory, serving as co-champion at 8-under par and drove the Gamecocks to its first team win of the season.
Rydqvist, a native of Sweden, enrolled at South Carolina in 2021, earning All-American honors her freshman year.
“I’m excited for Louise to tee it up in her first LPGA Tour event as a result of her outstanding play at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M,” said Annika. “With Louise being a fellow Swede and having played our foundation events, I’ve gotten to know her during her junior and amateur career. I’m thrilled we’re able to provide this opportunity and look forward to her getting the experience of competing against the world’s best in November.”
“Growing up in Sweden, Annika has been one of my biggest role models since a young age, not only because of her legendary golf career but also for how she has developed women’s golf,” said Rydqvist. “Winning the ANNIKA Intercollegiate as a team and individually is something I’ve dreamed of, and I feel incredibly honored to have been exempted into The ANNIKA LPGA Tour event.”
“The extraordinary opportunities that Annika and her foundation continue to create for young women in the game of golf is unprecedented,” said Anderson. “Offering a collegiate golfer the opportunity to earn an exemption spot into The ANNIKA LPGA Tour event is yet another example of the significant impacts that Annika and her foundation make on women’s golf worldwide.
“I am so proud of my South Carolina team for earning this exemption opportunity by winning the ANNIKA Intercollegiate,” Anderson continued. “I’m excited for Louise to proudly represent the South Carolina women’s golf program in November at The ANNIKA. She will be a wonderful representative of Gamecock Women’s Golf, both on and off the golf course. Our program is extremely appreciative to have this opportunity.”
The ANNIKA, Tampa Bay’s signature LPGA Tour event and the penultimate event on the 2023 LPGA Tour schedule, will be hosted by World Golf and LPGA Hall-of-Fame member Annika Sorenstam, taking place Nov. 6-12 at Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Fla. The tournament will offer a $3.25 million purse – one of the largest outside the major championships – with proceeds from the tournament benefiting the ANNIKA Foundation.
Nelly Korda is the two-time defending champion of The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican (formerly the Pelican Women’s Championship). She defeated Lexi Thompson by one stroke at 14-under par, solidifying her comeback in 2022 after missing four months early in the year due to injury. The win also elevated Korda back to World No. 1 at the time. In 2021, Korda defeated Thompson, Lydia Ko and 2020 champion Sei Young Kim via a one-hole playoff. The Pelican Women’s Championship made its debut in 2020, with Kim capturing the inaugural title.
For more information on The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican, visit www.TheAnnika.com and on social media: @TheAnnikaLPGA on Twitter, @TheAnnikaLPGA on Instagram and The Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican on Facebook.
About The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican
The Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican is the LPGA’s annual tournament in the Tampa Bay region and features the world’s best female golfers competing over four rounds for a share of the $3.25 million purse, the largest purse on the LPGA Tour outside of major championships and the season-ending event. The tournament is contested at the Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Fla., a Donald Ross design that offers world-class amenities and an unmatched golf experience. The sole namesake event on the LPGA Tour, Annika Sorenstam serves as tournament host with proceeds benefiting the ANNIKA Foundation. The championship is operated by Outlyr, a global sports, event management and lifestyle marketing agency. For more information on The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican, visit www.TheAnnika.com.
In 2008, Annika stepped away from professional golf and created the ANNIKA Foundation, which currently hosts six global tournaments for junior girls with over 600 girls from 60 different countries competing annually. The Foundation also hosts the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M, a premiere event on the NCAA Division I women’s golf fall schedule featuring 12 of the top DI schools in the country. New this year, a member of the winning team will earn an exemption to compete in The Annika driven by Gainbridge at Pelican.
Annika, the ANNIKA Foundation and the Haskins Foundation annually recognize the NCAA Division I women’s golf player of the year via the ANNIKA Award. Stanford’s Rose Zhang was named the back-to-back Annika Award winner for 2023.
In 2014 the LPGA, in partnership with Rolex, the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award was established to recognize the player who, during a current LPGA Tour season, has the most outstanding record in all five major championships. In 2020, Annika was elected the President of the International Golf Federation which oversees golf in the Olympic Games. In 2021, Annika became the first female golfer to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
About Gainbridge & Group 1001
Founded in 2018, Gainbridge Insurance Agency, LLC (“Gainbridge”), a Group 1001 company, is an insurtech that empowers consumers to take control of their financial future with solutions that are accessible to everyone no matter their budget or financial knowledge. Its platform provides access to financial products that are simple, intuitive, and backed by smart technology with no complexity or hidden fees. Gainbridge® is headquartered in Zionsville, Indiana. For more information, visit www.gainbridge.io or follow and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Group 1001 Insurance Holdings, LLC (“Group 1001”) is a technology-driven financial services company with a mission to empower customers, employees, and communities by making innovative products accessible to everyone. Group 1001 strives to demystify how insurance and annuity products are purchased today by leveraging technology to provide intuitive financial solutions for all Americans. As part of its mission, Group 1001 invests in strategic partnerships to connect with and transform communities through education and sports. As of March 31, 2023, Group 1001 had combined assets under management of approximately $60.1 billion and comprises the following brands: Delaware Life, Gainbridge, Gainbridge Life, Clear Spring Health, Clear Spring Insurance, and Clear Spring Life. Learn more at www.group1001.com.
About the LPGA
The LPGA is the world’s leading professional golf organization for women, with a goal to change the face of golf by making the sport more accessible and inclusive.
Created in 1950 by 13 Founders, the Association celebrates a diverse and storied history. The LPGA Tour competes across the globe, reaching television audiences in more than 220 countries. The Epson Tour, the LPGA’s official qualifying tour, consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. The LPGA also holds a joint-venture collaboration with the Ladies European Tour (LET), increasing playing opportunities for female golfers in Europe. Across the three Tours, the LPGA represents players in more than 60 countries.
Additionally, the LPGA Foundation has empowered and supported girls and women since 1991, most notably through LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, the only national program of its kind, which annually engages with nearly 100,000 girls. The LPGA Amateur Golf Association and LPGA Women’s Network provide virtual and in-person connections to female golfers around the world, while LPGA Professionals are educators, business leaders and game-changers dedicated to growing the game of golf for everyone.
The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican