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  • Writer's pictureANNIKA Foundation

Swayne Leads After First Round Of WALA

The inaugural Women’s Amateur Latin America championship (WALA) kicked off Thursday at Pilar Golf in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The event, a collaboration between The R&A and ANNIKA Foundation, features the top 58 female amateurs from Latin America and the Caribbean, with players vying for exemptions into the 2022 AIG Women’s Open and Amundi Evian Championships.

On a beautiful day with ideal scoring conditions, Alexandra Swayne of the U.S. Virgin Islands paced the field with a 6-under-par 66. After turning in 31, Swayne dropped a shot at the par 4 12th, before adding birdies on Nos. 13 and 15.

“I was nervous on the practice putting green, but on the course, I was able to let go and putt freely,” said Swayne after the round. “I had a lot of wedges into the greens, so was able to make some easy birdies throughout the round.”

Following the success of the ANNIKA Invitational Latin America, founded in 2016, the WALA has been well received in the region and has drawn media attention from around Latin America. In addition to the two major starts, the champion will also receive an exemption into the South American Amateur Open, the Women's Amateur Championship and the top three finishers will earn slots in the Hilton Grand Vacations ANNIKA Invitational presented by Rolex.

Maria Cabanillas of Argentina sits in second place after carding a 4-under-par 68 that included six birdies. Colombia’s Valery Plata grabbed third with a 69 and four players are tied for fourth at 2-under-par: Maria Jose Marin Negrete (Colombia), Stephanie Gelleni (Venezuela), Lauren Daiana Olivares Leon (Mexico), Emily Odwin (Barbados) and Lousiane Gauthier (Uruguay).

Friday’s second-round tee times will run from 8:30-11:40 a.m. off the No. 1 tee at Pilar Golf.

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