The 77th U.S. Women’s Open Championship Presented by ProMedica is this week with 68 ANNIKA alumnae competing at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Annika will compete in the championship for the first time since 2008 when she retired from professional play. She claimed three U.S. Women’s Open titles in 1995,1996 and 2006.
Competing alongside her are 68 ANNIKA alumnae. 20-year-old Yuka Saso will play in North Carolina this week to defend her title. Last year, Saso tied the record for the youngest winner of the championship at 19 years, 11 months, and 17 days, with Inbee Park. Should Yuka defend her title this week, she would become the eighth player to successfully defend. No. 2 ranked in World Golf Rankings Nelly Korda and sister Jessica Korda will also be in the mix this week. Nelly hasn’t competed in a tournament since February after undergoing surgery in April for a blood clot. Jessica is coming off a 2nd place finish at the Chevron Championship, the year’s first major championship. Other notable top ranked LPGA players are No. 11 Danielle Kang, No. 13 Patty Tavatanakit (2018 ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M Champion), No. 18 Celine Boutier (2011 HGV ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex Champion) and No. 20 Nanna Koerstz Madsen.
There are 7 past ANNIKA champions which include Grace Kim (2018 ANNIKA Invitational Australasia) who just came off her first professional win on the Epson Tour at the IOA Golf Classic. LSU’s Ingrid Lindblad won the 2019 HGV ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex to become the first Swede to win the event. Major champion Patty Tavatanakit won the individual title at the 2018 ANNIKA Intercollegiate after breaking the course record at Royal Golf Club with a 63 in the final round. Bethany Wu became the first player to win the HGV ANNIKA Invitational twice and back-to-back in 2013 and 2014. A year later, Angel Yin took the title in 2015 recording the lowest overall score in event history with a 12-under-par 204. Finally, Alison Lee was the HGV ANNIKA Invitational champion in 2012 and later went on to be the first ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel winner. Other winners of the award in the field this week are Bronte Law (2016), Leona Maguire (2015 & 2017) and Rose Zhang (2022).
Of the 32 amateurs competing this week, there are 18 past ANNIKA players. Coming off winning the National Championship (team and individual) and the 2022 ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel, No. 1 ranked amateur Rose Zhang has a good amount of momentum to build off going into the week. 2019 HGV ANNIKA Invitational champion and No. 2 ranked amateur Ingrid Lindblad had an incredible season at LSU, including a second-place finish at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. This will be her second U.S. Women’s Open appearance.
Other notable amateurs are Anna Davis, who finished second at the HGV ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex in January and won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur this spring. University of Kentucky junior Jensen Castle was the winner of the 121st U.S. Women’s Amateur last August and collected two top-20 finishes in the fall and lead the team with a 71.75 stroke average. Three-time ANNIKA Invitational participant Annabell Fuller notched three top-4 finishes in the fall during her junior year at the University of Florida. Other past ANNIKA amatuers are Kylee Choi, Bailey Davis, Alexandra Forsterling, Laney Frye, Melanie Green, Sara Im, Auston Kim, Lauren Kim, Lauren Miller, Bohyun Park, Catherine Park, Bailey Shoemaker and Yunxuan Zhang.
Additional ANNIKA players in the field this week are Alyaa Abdulghany, Julianne Alvarez, Pia Babnik, Tiffany Chan, Allisen Corpuz, Amanda Doherty, Gemma Dryburgh, Allison Emrey, Ayaka Furue, Mariel Galdiano, Jaye Marie Green, Ingrid Gutierrez, Lauren Hartlage, Muni He, Jillian Hollis, Linnea Johannson, Megan Khang, Lauren Kim, Frida Kinhult, Cheyenne Knight, Andrea Lee, Jeonghyun Lee, Lucy Li, Gaby Lopez, Stephanie Meadow, Yealimi Noh, Bianca Pagdanganan, Alexa Pano, Annie Park, Robyn Ree, Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, Gabriela Ruffels, Madelene Sagstrom, Kathleen Scavo, Smilla Sonderby and Maja Stark.