DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 6, 2019 – At the 2020 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions presented by Insurance Office of America, LPGA*USGA Girls Golf has partnered with Diamond Resorts and Caribbean Sol for a national essay contest open to Girls Golf members across the nation. Applicants were asked to answer the question: What Drives You? Tying in with the LPGA’s Drive On campaign and giving girls an opportunity to reflect on their personal experiences, triumphs and tribulations for a chance to experience the LPGA Tour’s season-opening event.

In March of 2019, the LPGA launched its new positioning and tag line, Drive On. For nearly 70 years, the LPGA has been a leader in providing opportunities for girls and women to achieve their dreams – on and off the golf course. Drive On is rooted in golf but extends beyond the sport. It applies to all genders and generations and takes on different meaning for each individual or group.

“We are excited to partner with Diamond Resorts and Caribbean Sol to provide this empowering experience for our Girls Golf members,” said Nancy Henderson, Chief Teaching Officer and President of The LPGA Foundation. “The LPGA continues to Drive On for the future of girls and women through golf, and we couldn’t do it without the support of these two generous companies.”

The LPGA is on a mission to engage over 100,000 girls in the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf program in 2020, continuing the movement to Change the Face of the Game and #DriveOn for the Future. Celebrating its 30th year, LPGA*USGA Girls Golf is the only national program of its kind that specializes in providing a girl-friendly environment for juniors to learn and play the game of golf. The program has developed exponentially over the last eight years as it has grown from a relatively small program of 5,000 girls to over 90,000 girls engaged in the program in 2019.

“It was an honor partnering with LPGA*USGA Girls Golf and Caribbean Sol to bring this inspiring group of Girls Golf members to the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions,” said Mike Flaskey, Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Resorts. “One of the unique elements of our tournament is that the celebrity golfers open up the game to an entirely new audience. Fans see musicians, actors and athletes from other sports crush it on the course alongside the LPGA Tour champions and we hope that gets people excited about the game. We know the Girls Golf members are going to enjoy it and can’t wait to welcome them and their families to the event.”

The “Diamond Resorts Drives On for the Future presented by Caribbean Sol” essay contest was divided into three age categories: 7-10, 11-13 and 14-17. From each of those categories, five “Finalists” and one “Grand Prize Winner” were chosen for a total of 18 winners. All 18 winners receive three-day/two-night accommodations, four tickets to the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions and an invitation to the Girls Golf Clinic held on Saturday of tournament week. The three grand prize winners also receive hospitality passes and inside-the-ropes passes to watch the best female golfers in the world up close.

“What drives me is people telling me I can’t,” said Selam Olson (13), the Grand Prize Winner in the 11-13 age category. “All my life I was told I couldn’t do things for various reasons. I was adopted from Ethiopia when I was around 3 years old…. When I came to America, I was very sick. I was malnourished and had an immune disorder that I still fight to this day. I was told by a doctor that I probably wasn’t going to be strong enough to do sports. Sure enough, I got healthy and now I have qualified for national state games in figure skating and got chosen for the all-star team for the PGA Jr. League and was the only girl that made it. Often being the only girl at golf events has had me face boys, dads and coaches questioning my abilities, and instead of backing down I worked hard and proved them wrong.

“Even when I fail, it just forces me to try harder. Can’t is not a word in my vocabulary, nor do I intend to use it, because I can do anything–no matter what.”

For more information and to read the winning essays, visit: https://www.girlsgolf.org/events/contests/awards/2019/diamond-resorts-drives-on-for-the-future

Prize Name Representing Category
Finalist Allyson Bell LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Mobile, AL Ages 11-13
Finalist Sophia Brubaker LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of the Main Line of Philadelphia Ages 14-17
Finalist Ophelia Bunuel LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Miami Ages 7-10
Finalist Sydney Butler LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Fort Myers, FL Ages 7-10
Finalist Chloe Chang LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Sarasota, FL Ages 11-13
Finalist Katherine Chartrain LPGA*USGA Girls Golf at The First Tee of New Hampshire Ages 14-17
Finalist Kianny Gil LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Miami Ages 11-13
Finalist Claire Hollingsworth LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Memphis Ages 11-13
Finalist Emily