Orlando, Fla. - Alice Ziyi Zhao of (China) Irvine, California, leads the 16th Hilton Grand Vacations ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex. The 2027 graduate went bogey-free, 7-under-par 66 for the day.
The Hilton Grand Vacations ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex is back for the 16th time. The 54-hole stroke play event is bringing together the top-72 female junior golfers from around the world to compete at Eagle Creek Golf Club this week. The event hosted by the ANNIKA Foundation and AJGA is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2024. The weekend includes a clinic put on by Annika Sorenstam for the field tonight as well as a Q&A session Monday between 2015 champion Angel Yin and our host Annika.
The champion of this weekend's event will receive two exemptions. The first to the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions LPGA event which is being contested at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club. The second to a 2024 Epson Tour tournament.
Zhao's 7-under-par 66 is the lowest opening round in tournament history. The bogey-free day included two birdies on the front nine and five birdies on the back nine.
Zhao is currently No. 11 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and is looking for her second AJGA invitational win. Zhao finished tied for second in 2023 after leading the first and second rounds alongside Katie Li, a current freshman at Duke University.
Natalie Yen of West Linn, Oregon, holds the solo second position at 6-under-par 67. The Texas A&M University commit went bogey-free on the front-nine to open her day. As she made the turn five birdies were coupled with two bogeys to finish her day.
Yen earned Rolex Junior All-American honors in 2023 after winning the Kathy Whitworth Invitational. She is looking for her first AJGA win this week.
Vanessa Borovilos of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Thanana Kotchasanmanee of (Thailand) Rome, Georgia, and Sofia Cherif Essakali of (Morocco) Orlando, Florida, share third place at 5-under-par 68.
The second round will take place at Eagle Creek Golf Club on Monday, January 15, from 8:30 to 10:20 a.m. Click here to view full leaderboard.