Ten months ago, Madelene Sagstrom was posing for pictures, accepting trophies and letting her record-breaking 2016 season sink in at the Symetra Tour Championship card ceremony. She accomplished everything a rookie possibly could – three wins, 12 top 10’s and a new earnings record ($167,064).
On Sunday, following the Ricoh Women’s British Open, Sagstrom received a captain’s pick from fellow Swede Annika Sorenstam onto Team Europe. She will compete on the grandest of stages at the 2017 Solheim Cup in Des Moines, Iowa next week.
“Madelene is an up and coming talent. She had a lot of success on the Symetra Tour last year, earning a battlefield promotion to the LPGA,” Sorenstam told SymetraTour.com. “She has had several top-10 finishes on the LPGA this year and a lot of players have indicated that they want to play with her. She will be a great addition to the team.”
"Solheim Cup wallpaper has been my phone background for years,” admitted Sagstrom during a press conference to announce the teams. "I've been dreaming of this for a very long time."
Last year, while the Symetra Tour was in Longwood – just north of Orlando – Annika made a trip to come see Madelene. It was late in the year and Madelene had already supplanted her spot in the Symetra Tour’s top 10. The two chatted for awhile at Alaqua Country Club and we even snapped a few pictures in front of the Swedish flag. Her mom, Lena, was also in Longwood that week. It was a thrill for the Sagstrom’s.
"Symetra gave me a huge platform and opportunity to get on the radar for Solheim Cup. It was the perfect way for me to start of my professional career. I was questioning my potential in the beginning when I turned pro, but Symetra (Tour) helped me to believe in myself and to know I was good enough," Sagstrom told SymetraTour.com. "I was given a chance to play against really good players and improve my game. I also got the publicity needed to get on the radar for Solheim. It was the best preparation and start of my career I could have ever imagined."
By no means was Sagstrom a lock to make Team Europe, but she was definitely on Annika’s radar.
Sagstrom got off to a rough start on the LPGA in 2017 – she wasn’t fully healthy. She missed the cut in her first three events, but it was only a matter of time. She has two top 10 finishes and three top 15’s since and ranks 51st on the LPGA Tour money list. In the last month, she made the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Sagstrom is the first Symetra Tour graduate to make a Solheim Cup the following season since Ryann O’Toole graduated in 2010 and played on the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup team. It’s a pretty impressive achievement.
After the 2016 season, the Tour took Sagstrom on a New York City media tour to celebrate her achievements and introduce the budding star to media outlets in the Big Apple. Two months later, she departed for Morocco to compete in Ladies European Tour Qualifying School and won to earn LET membership. This was critical to make sure she was eligible to make Team Europe.
Sagstrom’s journey to the Solheim Cup is quite remarkable. From the small town of Enkoping to the sports crazy college town of Baton Rouge (LSU) to professional golf on the Symetra Tour to representing Sweden and the continent of Europe.