Huang Ting-Hsuan of Chinese Taipei took home the hardware at the 2019 ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in China following a final-round 71 and a two-shot victory over defending champion Nanako Inagaki of Japan.
With the win, the 14-year-old Huang from Taoyuan City received exemptions into the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open at the Hong Kong Golf Club on May 10-12 and the CLPGA’s Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Challenge on June 6-8, both professional events.
Huang started the final day with the overnight lead thanks to a stunning 64 in round two and kept her composure to shoot one-under-par and finish with a tournament total score of 12-under-par, 204.
Last year’s winner, 18-year-old Inagaki put up a brave title defense, finishing runner up with a total score of 10-under-par, 206. China’s Yin Ruo-Ning, who led after round one with a 67, finished third carding a 8-under-par,208 overall. Other age-group winners were Hong Kong’s Sophie Han (233) in the girls’ 10-12 category and Liu Yu-Jie (235) of China in the 8-9 age group.
The top three finishers overall, Huang, Inagaki and Yin earned exemptions into the prestigious 2020 ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida.
“I was really nervous today, especially on the last three holes with Annika watching, but I’m so happy now,” said a smiling Huang, who was playing in her third ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills and won her age group in last year’s IMG Junior World Championship.
Annika spent time with the players both on and off the course, sharing the knowledge and experiences that have made her the most successful female golfer of all time with 89 international wins as a professional.
More than 80 girls from eight different countries and territories competed over 54 holes of stroke play on the par-72 Annika Course, one of 22 courses across two locations at Mission Hills. Players can now look forward to the tenth ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in 2020 following this week’s announcement that the annual event will return to the world’s largest golf facility in southern China until at least 2023.
The first all-girls international event in China, the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills was launched in 2011 and has established itself as the pre-eminent female junior event in Asia. Since its inception, the event has hosted over 1,000 players, many of whom have gone on to play Division I collegiate golf in the United States and several have succeeded at the professional level.
Leading final scores: Girls’ 13-18: 204 – Huang Ting-Hsuan (TPE) 69 64 71; 206 – Nanako Inagaki (JPN) 69 66 71; 208 – Yin Ruo-Ning (CHN) 67 71 70. Girls’ 10-12: 233 – Sophie Han (HKG) 80 75 78; 244 – Chen Pin-Hsi (TPE) 87 79 78, Wang Xin-Yu (CHN) 79 81 84. Girls’ 8-9: 235 – Liu Yu-Jie (CHN) 79 78 78; 245 – Leung Hei-Tung (HKG) 83 82 80; 257 – Wang Xi Zi Lin (HKG) 84 89 84