Orlando, Fla. - Sophie Stevens of Highland, Michigan, and Alice Ziyi Zhao of (China) Irvine, California, co-lead the 15th Hilton Grand Vacations ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex.
The 15th annual Hilton Grand Vacations ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex boasts a field featuring the best female junior golfers from around the world. The 72-player field includes twenty-nine Rolex Junior All-Americans, 16 of the top-25 girls in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and four within the top 10.
Stevens, who started her day on No. 10, put together a bogey-free start to her day. She birdied holes 10 and 14 for a 2-under-par 35 to make the turn. Her hot streak continued to the front with birdies on Nos. 2 and 4, moving her to 4-under through 15 holes. A bogey on No. 6 set her back a shot before back to back birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 brought her to 5-under-par 68 for the day.
Stevens, a 2023 senior, is committed to play collegiate golf at the University of Florida. She is seeking her first AJGA Invitational win after securing her first AJGA win this past fall at the Billy Horschel Junior Championship presented by Zurich.
Zhao went bogey-free during the first round to co-lead with Stevens. Her day included birdies on hole Nos. 1, 9, 13, 14 and 16, for a first round 5-under-par 68.
Zhao is no stranger to leading an AJGA invitational. The 2027 graduate won her first AJGA invitational in 2022 at the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational. She also made it to the Championship match at the Polo Golf Junior Classic and led during the Rolex Tournament of Champions.
Four girls share a place of tied for third, one stroke back of Stevens and Zhao at 4-under-par 69.
Francesca Fiorellini of Rome, Italy
Katie Li of Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Vanessa Borovilos of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Ashleen Kaur of Cypress, Texas
Fiorellini won ANNIKA Invitational Europe in 2022 earning her a place in the 2023 USA event. She competed on Annika's victorious European 2021 PING Junior Solheim Cup Team.
Li signed a letter of intent to play golf at the next level with Duke University. She is a three-time Rolex Junior All-American and two-time AJGA champion.
Borovilos is looking for her second AJGA invitational win this week. She collected her first at the 2022 Polo Golf Junior Classic at Bethpage Black.
Lauren Kim of Surrey, British Columbia, and Denisa Vodickova of Czech Republic, are two strokes off the lead at 3-under-par 70 in T7.
The second round will take place at Eagle Creek Golf Club on Monday, January 16, from 9 to 10:50 a.m.