The 75th U.S. Women’s Open is this week with 55 ANNIKA alumnae competing at Champions Golf Club in Houston. As it was her first major championship in 1995, the U.S. Women’s Open has a special place in Annika’s heart. She also claimed titles in 1996 and 2006.
Our 55 ANNIKA alumnae are led by World No. 2 Danielle Kang and World No. 3 Nelly Korda. Since the return of the LPGA after cancellations due to COVID-19, Kang has recorded two wins and four top-5 finishes. Korda has had three top-5 finishes but hasn’t played in competition since withdrawing from the KPMG PGA Women’s Championship in October. Nelly’s older sister, Jessica, is coming off a strong week at the Volunteers of America Classic where she entered the final round tied for the lead.
There are five ANNIKA alumnae LPGA rookies who made the elite field in Houston this week. Nineteen-year-old Yealimi Noh is coming off a strong performance from last week where she finished T2 at the Volunteers of America Classic. Stanford alum Andrea Lee recorded her best finish in August with a T5 at the Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana. Germany native Esther Henseleit won the Order of Merit on the LET to earn her 2020 LPGA status. Former Arizona player Bianca Pagdanganan will make her U.S. Women’s Open debut this week. She was a member of Arizona’s 2018 NCAA title team. Lastly, former Bruin and 2018 ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M champion, Patty Tavatanakit, is making her third appearance in the major championship.
Of the 24 amateurs competing this week, there are 21 past ANNIKA players including seven former ANNIKA champions. Ho Yu An of Chinese Taipei is currently ranked No.7 in WAGR and was the winner of the 2016 ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills. The ANNIKA Invitational Europe defending champ Lily May Humphreys will make her U.S. Open debut and will be joined by 2016 Europe winner Beatrice Wallin of Sweden. Angelina Ye, Ingrid Lindblad and Benedetta Moresco will also compete, winning the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Other ANNIKA amateurs set to play are Allisen Corpuz, Caterina Don, Linn Grant, Agathe Laisne, Auston Kim, Lucie Malchirand, Olivia Mehaffey, Emilia Migliaccio, Alessia Nobilio, Kaitlyn Papp, Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, Gabriela Ruffels, Emma Spitz, Maja Stark and Rose Zhang.
Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen has had an incredible season this year on the Ladies European Tour. The recently-crowned Race to Costa del Sol champion has looked unstoppable all year, winning five out of 12 events in 2020. At the end of November, she claimed her third-consecutive LET title and will play in this weeks’ U.S. Open for the second time in her career.
Other ANNIKA alumnae competing in the final major of the year are Ana Belac, Celine Boutier, Nicole Broch Larsen, Austin Ernst, Maria Fassi, Kristen Gillman, Jaye Marie Green, Nuria Itturioz, Janie Jackson, Bronte Law, Ayaka Furue, Megan Khang, Frida Kinhult, Cheyenne Knight, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Yu Liu, Gaby Lopez, Annie Park, Yuka Saso, Sarah Schmelzel, Lauren Stephenson, Linnea Strom, Maria Fernanda Torres, Lindsey Weaver and Angel Yin.