From February 13 – 16, the top junior boys and girls in the world will compete in two of the schedule’s most elaborate events. With the Polo Golf Rankings top-72 girls heading to Florida for the ANNIKA Invitational and top-72 boys heading to Texas for the AJGA Boys Championship at Carlton Woods, the weekend is sure to provide staunch competition as well as unmatched, off-the-course fun.
Hosted by one of the greatest female golfers of all time, Ms. 59 Annika Sorenstam, the ANNIKA Invitational is an international event, showcasing talents from each of the ANNIKA Foundation’s championships around the world. Champions of the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in China and the ANNIKA Invitational Europe, hosted in Sweden, join players from more than 15 countries and 15 states for a week of top-notch competition and overall training and health seminars. The ANNIKA Foundation makes an effort to educate players on fitness, nutrition, strength training and on-course techniques, providing instruction from Annika and her team of experts. Last year’s champion Bethany Wu successfully defended her 2012 title and earned herself a spot on the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive.
AJGA Boys Championship at Carlton Woods
Golf on a Tom Fazio-designed course with sides of Ferraris, games, American pride and the best junior boys in the world is the AJGA Boys Championship at Carlton Woods in a nutshell. Tournament chairwoman Christine Dernick, her husband Dr. Bob Dernick, their entire family and a fantastic tournament committee, spend all year planning the event. From coordinating military appreciation and flyovers, to creating a laser tag course and orchestrating a s’more roasting party around the campfire, the AJGA Boys Championship at Carlton Woods chairwoman does not miss a single detail in facilitating a yearly favorite on the AJGA schedule. This year’s champion Doug Ghim carded an unprecedented 53 bogey-free holes en route to his first AJGA Invitational victory.
The first Under Armour®-sponsored event of the year is hosted by the AJGA National Chairman, Hunter Mahan, March 27-29. The PGA TOUR professional and three-time Ryder Cup participant provides an opportunity for players in his home state of Texas at the Stonebriar Country Club in Frisco. With an annual clinic, skills challenge, Q&A session and autograph signing, the 1999 Rolex Junior Player of the Year ensures an once-in-a-lifetime experience for the event’s 78 competitors and their families.
The Thunderbird International Junior, May 22-25, is hosted annually at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. With 15 years of dedicated support to junior golf, the Thunderbirds, a civic organization developed to promote athletics in Phoenix, puts on a great show for 78 of the world’s top junior golfers. Historically the most international field on the schedule, the Thunderbird International Junior matches it’s high-level venue with unique post-round activities. Players at the 2014 tournament enjoyed a welcome dinner hosted by Under Armour® and Jim “Bones” Mackay, as well as a Dry Heave contest following the second round. During the contest, players are challenged with a short-iron shot over the water onto 18 green – miss the green and your consequences are pushups in front of the gallery. Let’s not forget to mention this contest is held after dark with stadium lights as guides.
While every AJGA event strives to provide the highest-levels of competition and fun, these gems in the Spring are sure not to short on either side of the coin. The three AJGA Invitationals and Hunter Mahan-hosted event set the bar high for the entire year, on and off the course.