Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Fla., hosts the LPGA Tour for the fourth consecutive year this week just outside Tampa. The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican is named after Annika Sorenstam, who won 72 LPGA Tour titles, including 10 major championships across two different decades (1995-08).
Sorenstam partnered with the club and Gainbridge for her first namesake event after having previously hosted the Ginn Tribute at RiverTowne Country Club in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. from 2007-08. During the tournament’s first three years, it was known as the Pelican Women’s Championship, with various presenting sponsors in DEX Imaging, Konica Minolta and Raymond James.
Nelly Korda returns to Pelican Golf Club as the two-time defending champion, having recorded seven sub-par rounds with a scoring average of 65.571. Korda has the fourth-best percentage of sub-par rounds recorded on the LPGA Tour this season, with 42 of 60 rounds under par in 16 total events played.
|Best Percentage of Sub-Par Rounds
|This Season on the LPGA Tour
|Rounds Under Par
|Hyo Joo Kim
|56 of 74
|50 of 67
|50 of 71
|42 of 60
|> Minimum 15 events played
Last year, Korda successfully defended a title for the second time in her career with a one-stroke victory over Lexi Thompson. Two years ago, Korda faced Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson and Sei Young Kim in the event’s first playoff, ultimately making birdie on the first sudden-death hole to win. Korda was not in the field in 2020 due to a back injury that occurred during the first round of the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The last player to win an event three consecutive times is Inbee Park at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship from 2013-15.
|Three or More Consecutive Wins at the Same Event
|LPGA Tour Since 2001
|2001-05 Mizuno Classic
|2003-05 McDonald’s LPGA Championship
|2006-08 Sybase Classic
|2013-15 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
Sei Young Kim won the inaugural playing of the tournament by three shots over Ally Ewing. In each year of tournament history, the lowest round during tournament play was recorded on day one. In both 2020 and 2021, the lowest 18-hole score was also recorded in later rounds. Kim recorded a 6-under 64 in the third round en route to victory in 2020 (67-65-64-70). The event was shortened to 54 holes in 2022 as Tropical Storm Nicole canceled Thursday play.
|Lowest Round by Year
|The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican
|2020 Sei Young Kim
|2020 Jessica Korda
|2020 Sophia Popov
|2021 Mi Hyang Lee
|2021 Leona Maguire
|2022 Maria Fassi
Consistently, during the past three years, LPGA Tour players have met the challenge of Pelican Golf Club, and 42% of their rounds have been under par for this tournament.
Gabriela Ruffels is making her sixth LPGA start of the season as a sponsor invite. The 2023 Epson Tour Player of the Year has finished no worse than T36 in her previous five LPGA starts. According to KPMG Performance Insights, Ruffels ranks 21st in strokes gained approach, earning just over a stroke on the field on all shots from more than 50 yards. Ruffels competed in Belleair in 2020 and missed the cut with a score of 8-over 148.
As the ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican evolves this week, spectators will be able to witness the LPGA Tour’s best compete on a spectacular Floridian course known for low scores, something that’s sure to produce plenty of drama.