“Having Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio feels like where it's supposed to be, for me.”
In 2020, Madelene Sagstrom’s life was forever changed by the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio. Not only did she record the best 18-hole score of her career in the second round (62), but the Swede went on to become a Rolex First-Time Winner in impressive fashion. After a disastrous start to the final round (two bogeys in her first five holes), she posted a birdie on the penultimate hole to tie the lead and ended the weekend victorious after Nasa Hataoka missed a 3-foot putt on the last. Sagstrom became the 12th player from Sweden to win on the LPGA, and the first since Pernilla Lindberg at the 2018 Chevron Championship.
“That was my fourth season on tour, and it's hard when you come out and don't really perform where you think you should,” said Sagstrom. “For me, it was kind of I belong out here, I can play against the best players in the world and just made me feel more comfortable, confident, and just trusting my game a little bit more. It was a huge step in that direction.”
Last year, Sagstrom aimed to defend her title at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club. Not far from home, she finished in a tie for 66th. She played the first two rounds with her countrywomen and major champions, Anna Nordqvist and Annika Sorenstam, a lasting memory for years to come. But Sagstrom is happy to be back in Boca Raton, in front of a community that has continued to support the Tour and her since the victory.
“I'm happy that they want to support the LPGA. I think we had a really good turnout last time we were here. It's really great,” Sagstrom said. “Just like a nice warm, fuzzy feeling.”
Sagstrom is ready to continue the Tour’s Florida swing to open the 2022 season and is coming off a 17th-place result at last week’s Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. On top of an exciting week back at Boca Rio, Sagstrom was thrilled with the announcement of Epson as the new tour title sponsor of the “Road to the LPGA.” The Olympian and two-time Solheim Cup Team Europe member got her professional start on the Epson Tour, setting the single-season earnings record in 2016 thanks to three wins and 12 top-10 finishes to secure Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year and Epson Tour Player of the Year honors.
“I always tell people I'm so happy I missed out on Q-School, because really playing on now Epson Tour just made me prepare for this life. It made me understand how you travel, what you practice, how you live this lifestyle,” said Sagstrom. “I'm a proud graduate and it was so amazing. I know it's going to bring a lot of good talent out here. I think it’s just going to keep growing, get bigger, and it's good for women's golf overall.
“Going to keep growing the game.”