Navarro leads with 3-under-par 69, five others linger one shot back
Youth on top after first round of ANNIKA Invitational
REUNION, Fla. — In a field that features some of the best female junior golfers in the world, the top of the ANNIKA Invitational leaderboard holds some of the youngest competitors in this week's field. At just 14 years old, Marijosse Navarro of San Antonio has sole possession of the lead after a 3-under-par 69 performance.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the ANNIKA Invitational is a 54-hole stroke play event being played at Reunion Resort, home of the ANNIKA Academy. The girls-only field is playing the par-72 Independence (Watson) Course at 6,326 yards. The 72-player field features 25 Rolex Junior All-Americans and players from 15 states and 12 foreign countries.
Navarro is a three-time AJGA champion and is in pursuit of her first Invitational victory. Making her second ANNIKA Invitational appearance, she feels more comfortable with the course and was able to settle into a round that included five birdies.
“I started with a birdie on No. 1, but then made a bogey on No. 2 so I was back to even par,” Navarro said. “I made the turn at 1-under after a birdie on No. 6 and then was able to get very comfortable with the putting greens on the back, making three more birdies.”
Ranked No. 19 in the Polo Golf Rankings, Navarro will look to hold the lead over an experienced field. Five players sit one shot back while seven competitors are just two strokes shy of the lead heading into Sunday's second round.
Casey Danielson, 15, of Osceola, Wis., Samantha Marks, 16, of Maitland, Fla., Rachel Dai, 13, of Suwanee, Ga., Gyeol Park, 15, of Shatto, Calif., and Ohio State commit Kendall Prince, 17, of Lake Oswego, Ore., all sit tied for second place after posting 2-under-par 70s.
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 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
For more information regarding the ANNIKA Invitational, contact AJGA Tournament Headquarters at (678) 227-8490.