LANDFALL TRADITION NEWS
Landfall Tradition - College Am & sponsors
Sponsors play a critical role in Landfall Tradition’s growth and success
The University of South Carolina women’s golf program has developed into one of the nation’s best during coach Kalen Anderson’s 16-year tenure. And the Landfall Tradition has become one of their favorite weekends on the schedule. Winning the last two titles - in 2019 and 2021 - surely enhances those good feelings.
Still, the fourth-ranked Gamecocks’ affinity for their time spent at the Country Club of Landfall extends beyond success on the course.
“The sponsors here are over the top,” Anderson said Thursday at the Dye course.
In particular, Anderson’s team and John Marinelli, CEO and chairman of Landfall Tradition sponsor PolyQuest have built a special bond through the years.
“He has some Gamecock blood in him,” Anderson said.
Marinelli’s company, which is located in Wilmington and has global clients, began supporting this premier women’s college golf tournament seven or eight years ago. It’s been a mutually beneficial association, helping the UNCW golf programs with scholarship funding and allowing PolyQuest to give back to the community.
“From a corporate perspective, we’re in this town, we’re headquartered in this town, we’re not well known because our business is outside of Wilmington. We don’t have a single customer in Wilmington but we have banking relationships, CPA relationships, attorney relationships,” he said, moments before his tee time alongside the Gamecocks.
“Our employees live in this town and we just want to contribute back to the community. We hold it close to our hearts.”
Live Oak Private Wealth, nCino and the Country Club of Landfall are also primary sponsors of this year’s tournament, the 20th held at the prestigious coastal country club since 2002.
“We just think it’s a great event for the community that Landfall is involved in. To be able to give back to the school and create scholarships for athletes,” said Andy Basinger, the managing director at Live Oak Private Wealth. “Also love the fact that it’s a female event. Neat to see female golfers and enjoy being part of that.”
Marinelli understands the level of talent competing this week and through the tournament’s rich history. The current LPGA Tour roster includes dozens of Landfall Tradition alumni quality, including past champions like Jennifer Kupcho (2016), a two-time LPGA Tour champion this season. Members of the next wave of pro stars are surely teeing up at the Dye course this weekend.
“To be candid, we love the sporting event itself,” Marinelli said. “To me, pound-for-pound, these ladies are some of the best athletes on the planet. I like the precision, how they carry themselves and represent their schools.
Secondarily, this isn’t New York City, Atlanta, LA or wherever. Having this caliber of talent in our little town … we have some of the best players on planet Earth playing here, coming here from all over the world, regardless their nationality, it doesn’t matter. The whole world is represented.”
College-Ams, which pair one college player with amateur partners in a modified scramble format, aren’t staples at every tournament. Anderson said her team usually participates in one per semester. Both sides benefit. The amateurs get to play and interact with top-flight golfers, many of whom have a goal of playing on the LPGA Tour, where similar events are a weekly occurrence.
“It’s great for the tournament and good for our players,” Anderson said.
Marinelli hoped to make a few putts to help his team’s score in Thursday’s relaxed competition. Whatever the final score, he knows his company’s financial involvement sows seeds at home and help the home team.
To see the level of talent coming into the UNCW program … we know they are challenged from a financial standpoint. They are competing against larger universities that are more established programs with football money,” he said. “It’s been fantastic to see their growth. Every time I talk to people on the committee they’re excited about the direction of the UNCW program.”