New Venue for Premier Girls’ Tournament Kicks Off Second Decade of ANNIKA Foundation’s Mission to Promote Women’s Golf, Health and Wellness
(ORLANDO, Fla.) – The ANNIKA Foundation – golf Hall-of-Famer Annika Sorenstam’s charitable organization – is bringing its flagship U.S. event, the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex, to the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., Jan. 12-15.
Produced in association with the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), this will mark the 10th-consecutive edition of the 54 hole, stroke-play event. This year’s 72 player, all-girls field (ages 12-19) represents 15 different countries and 16 different states. Twenty-seven Rolex Junior All-Americans and 22 former AJGA winners are scheduled to play. These include six of the top-10 girls in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
Highlighting the field are No. 1-ranked Lucy Li of Redwood Shores, Calif.; reigning Rolex Junior Player of the Year and current No. 2 Rachel Heck (Memphis, Tenn.); No. 4-ranked Yojeong Son (Norman, Okla., by way of South Korea); and No. 6-ranked Gina Kim (Chapel Hill, N.C.).
Top finishers from the ANNIKA Foundation’s global circuit of events and many PING Junior Solheim Cup participants round out what is annually recognized as one of the strongest fields in girls’ golf.
“We’re honored to bring the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex to St. Augustine and the World Golf Village,” says Annika, who traveled more than 45,000 miles last year to support ANNIKA Foundation initiatives. “The Slammer & Squire course, accommodations and amenities like the World Golf Hall of Fame are all first-class and combine to create a perfect venue for our event.”
Each year, the ANNIKA Foundation conducts five major golf events for juniors on four continents: the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex, ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in China, ANNIKA Invitational Europe, ANNIKA Cup in Sweden and ANNIKA Invitational Latin America in Argentina. They are complemented by the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M and the ANNIKA Award presented by 3M, which is annually bestowed to the most outstanding female Division I golfer.
Since the inaugural Foundation tournament – the 2009 ANNIKA Invitational USA – 32 ANNIKA event alumnae have earned LPGA cards, with 500-plus playing at the collegiate level. And while the on-course action is important, off-course lessons pertaining to nutrition, fitness, the college application process and more are integral to the tournament’s “More than Golf” experience.
“Female participation in golf continues to grow, increasing by 13 percent over the last five years according to the National Golf Foundation,” adds Annika. “The share of girl golfers has increased from 23 to 33 percent during the same timeframe, further inspiring us and confirming our mission is making a difference.”