Preliminary field sets stage for ninth ANNIKA Invitational


Headlined by several top-10 girls in the AJGA Rankings, the ninth annual ANNIKA Invitational will return to Orlando, Fla. and Reunion Resort’s Watson Course February 17 – 20.

The ANNIKA Invitational was the first junior golf event founded by Annika Sorenstam, the 10-time LPGA Tour major championship winner and World Golf Hall of Fame member, in the ANNIKA Foundation’s series of global events.

The 72-player Girls Invitational annually serves as the first girls-only event of the 2017 season. Since its inception in 2009, over 200 participants have gone on to play NCAA Division I golf and several are enjoying success on the LPGA Tour.

Two years after winning the 2012 ANNIKA Invitational, current LPGA Tour professional Alison Lee was the inaugural winner of the ANNIKA Award Presented by 3M, which is presented to the most outstanding female collegiate golfer. The former UCLA All-American has continued her strong play since then, earning a spot on the 2015 U.S. Solheim Cup team and posting five top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour in 2016, including a runner-up at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship.

Austin Ernst, 2009 ANNIKA Invitational participant, has enjoyed a great start to her professional career. Since 2013, Ernst has amassed 12 top-10 finishes (including a win at the Portland Classic Presented by Cambia Health Solutions) and earned nearly $1.5 million in her LPGA career, which has put her in position to earn a spot on the 2017 Solheim Cup team.

Jaravee Boonchant of Bangkok, Thailand, will look to become the second golfer to successfully defend her title after UCLA sophomore Bethany Wu won back-to-back from 2013-14. The senior has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Duke University and is currently No. 4 in the AJGA Rankings. The two-time Rolex Junior All-American appeared on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive with Annika after her 2016 victory.

Top finishers from some of the other ANNIKA Foundation global events will join the 2017 field. Ho Yu An of Taipei, Taiwan, Inez Wanamarta of Surabaya, Indonesia, and Tsai-Ching Tseng of Taipei, Taiwan, earned spots after topping the field at the ANNIKA Invitational Mission Hills China. Agustina Gomez Cisterna, Ela Belen Anacona, Pilar Berchot and Laura Edmonds, all of Buenos Aires, Argentina, will also compete after claiming the top-four spots at the ANNIKA Invitational Latin America. Charlotte Lafourcade of Saint-Jean-De-Luz, France, will join Beatrice Wallin of Olofstorp, Sweden, representing the top finishers from the ANNIKA Invitational Europe.