Mathilde Claisse of Poissy, France, opened the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex with a 3-under-par 69 and leads by one.
The 10th ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex boasts a field featuring the best female junior golfers from around the world. The 72-player field includes 17 of the top-25 girls in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and six of the top 10. The champion will receive a Symetra Tour exemption into the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in March.
Claisse, who started on No. 10, carded a birdie on the par-3 15th and made the turn at even-par 36. The University of South Carolina verbal commit carded three birdies on the back nine to post a 3-under-par 33. The high school junior posted a 2-1-0 record in 2017 as a member of the European PING Junior Solheim Cup Team.
Gina Kim of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is in second after posting a 2-under-par 70. Kim carded two birdies, both of which came on par-5s, on her bogey-free round. The 2017 Rolex Junior All-American finished runner-up in consecutive starts at the 2017 AJGA Girls Championship and the 2017 PING Invitational. Kim signed a National Letter of Intent with Duke University.
Frida Kinhult of Fiskebackskil, Sweden, is in third after carding a 1-under-par 71. Kinhult, who started on the back nine, carded back-to-back birdies on the par-4 No. 14 and the par-3 No. 15 to make the turn at 2-under-par 34. The Florida State University commit reached the quarterfinals at the 2016 Polo Golf Junior Classic.
Sabrina Iqbal of San Jose, California; Linn Grant of Viken, Sweden; Yujeong Son of Norman, Oklahoma; Yealimi Noh of Concord, California; Kanyanat Saithip of Bradenton, Florida; and Bohyun Park of Farmers Branch, Texas, are T4 at even-par 72.
The second round will take place Sunday, January 14, on Nos. 1 and 10 from 8:15 a.m. to 10:05 a.m. Follow along with live scoring.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-19) of more than 6,900 members from 50 states and 60 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
TaylorMade-adidas Golf became the AJGA’s National Sponsor in 2016 after more than 25 years of support. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2017, adidas joined the AJGA as a Premier Partner, serving as the Official Apparel and Footwear of the AJGA.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 910 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas, Stacy Lewis, Ariya Jutanugarn, Alison Lee, Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel.
Rolex, the leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, is headquartered in Geneva and enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces all the essential components of its watches in-house, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, exploration, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities as well as philanthropic programmes.