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Stepping stone to success: More than 30 Landfall Tradition alumni have competed on the LPGA Tour 



Like fallen leaves, cooler temperatures and pumpkins on the porch, the annual arrival of elite women golfers confirms fall has arrived in coastal North Carolina.


In every year but one since 2002, talented women’s college golfers have converged on the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, NC to test their games on the pristine, demanding courses there. They’ve carried or pushed their golf bags and worn their school colors, honing their skills, competing against the best players in the nation.


And for many, in the years following those appearances in the Landfall Tradition, they’ve continued on to the game’s highest level, battling for titles and prize money on the LPGA Tour. They’ve climbed the world rankings, represented their countries in international competitions, met goals and achieved dreams.


The numbers are staggering.


Examining the current Rolex World Golf Rankings, seven of the top 100 players participated in either the Landfall Tradition or the 2010 NCAA Championship - held at the Country Club of Landfall Dye course - over the last two decades. Jennifer Kupcho, who won the 2016 Landfall Tradition while attending Wake Forest with an impressive ballstriking display, heads the list at 11th in the world. The champion of the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur has won twice on the LPGA Tour this year and is bound for a long fruitful career.



Altogether, past Landfall Tradition or 2010 NCAA participants have amassed more than 20 LPGA Tour titles. Cydney Clanton, the former Auburn golfer, joins Kupcho as a winner at Landfall and on Tour.


The most recent Solheim Cup - the biannual match play event pitting the best Americans against their European counterparts - was a virtual Landfall Tradition reunion. Each side had four former participants.


Kupcho, Danielle Kang, Lizette Salas and Brittany Altomare - the 2010 Landfall Tradition co-champion from Virginia represented the U.S. while former Duke standouts Leona Maguire and Celine Boutier were joined by Arizona State alum Carlota Ciganda and Nanna Koertz-Masden, a former South Carolina star.


We should’ve seen it coming from Maguire, now No. 20 in the world. The Irish sensation was ranked No. 1 in the world amateur rankings and finished in the Landfall Tradition top-10 three consecutive years, helping Duke to one of its four team titles in 2015. Her pro career is also ascending. She won the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony earlier this year and has recorded three other top-five finishes.


At least 30 Landfall Tradition alumni held LPGA Tour status in the last decade. The current landscape in women’s professional golf makes the results even more impressive. The majority of the world’s top 100 players hail from outside the U.S. and many turned pro as teenagers, bypassing college golf. Most of the rest passed through the gates of the Country Club of Landfall before matriculating to pro tours around the world. 


The list is impressive.


  • Salas, a five-time Solheim Cup team member, tied for 12th in the 2009 Landfall Tradition before taking her steady game to the pro circuit.


  • World No. 13 Danielle King, a three-time U.S. Solheim Cup team member, competed at the Country Club of Landfall in the 2010 NCAA Championship, tying for 15th


  • World No. 33 Marina Alex, who battled back from injuries and won on the LPGA Tour in California last month, tied for 21st in the 2010 NCAAs.


  • 2010 Landfall Tradition co-champion Brittany Altomare (Virginia) is No. 92 in the world, finished runner up in the 2017 Evian Championship


  • Cheyenne Knight competed for Alabama in the Landfall Tradition from 2015-17, tying for third in 2016 and finishing in the top-20 each year. Knight, who won the 2019 Volunteers of America Classic on the LPGA Tour, has finished in the top-15 in her last two pro starts and is ranked No. 76 in the world.


  • A total of 10 former Landfall Tradition participants represented their country in either the 2016 or 2021 Olympic Games.


So on the final weekend of October 18 of the top women’s college golf teams descend upon the Country Club of Landfall yet again. The field includes nine of the top 40 players in the nation. Before the bright hues of yellow and orange fade to gray, elite golfers will attack the perfectly manicured fairways at the Dye course and continue building their resumes.  


If the past can be trusted, a bright future awaits for some in professional golf tournaments around the globe.

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