The week has finally arrived when 72 of the top-ranked female amateurs from around the world get to compete in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. The first two rounds of the 54-hole event will be played at Champions Retreat in Augusta, Georgia, culminating in the final round at Augusta National Golf Club on Saturday, April 6.
The event was established to inspire greater interest and participation in the women’s game by creating a new, exciting and rewarding pathway for these competitors to fulfill their dreams. As further inspiration, Augusta National invited Hall of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Lorena Ochoa, Se Ri Pak and Annika to attend the inaugural playing of this historic event. The foursome will be the featured guests at a players-only function on Friday, April 5, and will take part in a special first tee ceremony to begin the event’s final round at Augusta National on Saturday morning.
“I am so excited to see these young girls walk the fairways and play that historic course during the heat of competition,” says Annika. “In golf, it is a dream come true to be able to play at Augusta National, so I am looking forward to witnessing some of the best young women in golf live out their dream while inspiring girls and women everywhere. Best of luck to all!”
Of the 72 young women competing, 59 have participated in at least one ANNIKA Foundation tournament. Familiar collegiate names include Jaravee Boonchant, Virginia Elena Carta, Maria Fassi and Andrea Lee. Fittingly, 59 is a special number to Annika as she remains the only woman to ever record that score in a professional event.
Hailing from Bangkok, Thailand, Jaravee played in three consecutive ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex events, capturing a win in 2016. Now a sophomore at Duke, Boonchant competed in the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M this passed September for the first time, finishing T11. She finished runner-up after a playoff at the ACC Championship as a freshman and was also a member of the 2018 Arnold Palmer Cup International team.
Teammate Virginia Elena Carta also has deep ties to the ANNIKA Foundation. The Italian competed in three ANNIKA Invitationals, two in the U.S. and one in Europe. She’s also represented Duke in three ANNIKA Intercollegiate events. Her most recent win came this fall when she shared medalist honors with teammate Gina Kim at The Landfall Tradition. Kim is also competing this week in Augusta.
Arkansas’ Maria Fassi has had a lot of success when it comes to ANNIKA events and awards. While she only played in one junior tournament, Fassi won the ANNIKA Intercollegiate back-to-back in 2016 and 2017, leading her team to a victory in 2017. In 2018, Fassi was the winner of the ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel voted on by players, coaches and golf media.
Stanford Junior Andrea Lee has also been a familiar face at ANNIKA Foundation events throughout the years. As a junior, she competed in four ANNIKA Invitational USA's. She represented Stanford in 2017 and 2018 at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M with a T3 place finish her best in the event. She was also a runner-up for the 2017 ANNIKA Award. Last week, she won her eighth collegiate tournament to tie Stanford’s all-time school record for individual titles.
Aside from Boonchant and Fassi, there are four past ANNIKA champions competing this week. Sweden’s Amanda Linner and Beatrice Wallin have both won the ANNIKA Invitational Europe. Wallin, who claimed the title in 2016, has competed in a total of seven ANNIKA events throughout her golf career. She is currently playing collegiate golf for Florida State. Linner took home the title the following year and has also competed in seven total events. She will play for Arizona State beginning next fall.
ANNIKA Invitational USA champions Brooke Seay (2016) and Angelina Ye (2017) also highlight the field. Seay, a Stanford commit, made the cut in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open. Three-time ANNIKA Invitational competitor Ye went on to finish an impressive T7 in her Symetra Tour debut after receiving an exemption from her win in 2017 at World Golf Village.
Other ANNIKA alumnae who will compete this in this historic event are Alyaa Abdulghany, Ana Belac, Kaylee Benton, Sierra Brooks, Zoe Campos, Jennifer Chang, Alice Chen, Allisen Corpuz, Amanda Doherty, Caterina Don, Alessandra Fanali, Isabella Fierro, Michaela Finn, Annabell Fuller, Allyson Geer-Park, Linn Grant, Haylee Harford, Leonie Harm, Lauren Hartlage, Alice Hewson, Emilee Hoffman, Yu-Chiang Hou, Yu-Sang Hou, Jiwon Jeon, Wenyung Keh, Dylan Kim, Agathe Laisne, Tilda Larsson, Stephanie Lau, Clarisse Louis, Hee Ying Loy, Olivia Mehaffey, Emilia Migliaccio, Haley Moore, Alessia Nobilio, Tristyn Nowlin, Ainhoa Olarra, Alexa Pano, Kaitlyn Papp, Marta Perez, Anna Redding, Yuka Saso, Ellie Slama, Mariah Smith, Emma Spitz, Natalie Srinivasan, Maja Stark, Kaleigh Telfer and Rose Zhang.