DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For a third consecutive year, the Symetra Tour and American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) are partnering to provide select AJGA Invitational champions with exemptions into Symetra Tour events.
Winners of the 2019 ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex, Buick Shanshan Feng Girls Invitational and KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational will qualify for a Symetra Tour exemption to various tournaments. It is the second straight year that three AJGA Invitational champions will compete in an event on the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour, as the 2017 agreement awarded two exemptions.
“We are once again excited to partner with the AJGA on Invitational events hosted by our LPGA Tour members,” said Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer for the Symetra Tour. “Many current and former Symetra Tour professionals started their path to the LPGA Tour on the AJGA. We look forward to welcoming some of the AJGA’s best to three different Symetra Tour events.”
From Jan. 18-21, the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex will be contested on the Slammer & Squire Course at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. The top finisher earns a spot in the 11th annual Florida’s Natural Charity Classic at the Country Club of Winter Haven in Winter Haven, Fla. from March 15-17.
“Providing an exemption to a Symetra Tour event for the winner of the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex helps elevate the event to a new level,” said World Golf Hall of Famer and tournament host Annika. “The partners we have brought on over the Invitational’s 11-year history have made it truly special, and we are thankful to have the Symetra Tour as one of them.”
Meanwhile, the second edition of the Buick Shanshan Feng Girls Invitational runs from Feb. 15-18 in Somis, Calif. at The Saticoy Club. The reward for its victor is a place in the field for the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Beaumont, Calif., from March 29-31.
The final AJGA event for the 2019 partnership is the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational from June 24-27 in Johnson, Ark., at the Blessings Golf Club. This year, the champion receives an invitation to compete at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship in Battle Creek, Mich. from Aug. 16-18 at Battle Creek Country Club.
“The AJGA is very excited to be able to offer these exemptions to some of our strongest tournament fields,” said Jason Etzen, the Chief Business Officer for the AJGA. “We are proud to partner with the Symetra Tour to help elevate these tournaments to a new level and provide more exposure and experience for these junior golfers.”
In 2018, a total of 15 Symetra Tour champions were AJGA alumnae including graduates Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland), Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois), Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China), Kendall Dye (Edmond, Oklahoma) and Linnea Ström (Hovas, Sweden).
Of the five AJGA Invitational champions in the first two years through the partnership, four have utilized their Symetra Tour exemption with three making the cut at their respective event. From that group, Angelina Ye (Bradenton, Florida) owns the best finish of tied for seventh at the 2017 Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.
ABOUT THE SYMETRA TOUR
The Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 39th competitive season in 2019. With the support of its umbrella partner Symetra, the Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Since Symetra’s inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7M in prize money to $3M in prize money awarded over the course of 21 tournaments. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 437 LPGA titles. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, Facebook.com/Road2LPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA, and YouTube.com/Road2LPGA.
Symetra Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Symetra Financial Corporation, a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Washington. In business since 1957, Symetra provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions and independent agents and advisors. Symetra began its partnership with the Road to the LPGA in 2010 as the title sponsor of the Symetra Classic. It secured naming rights for the Symetra Tour in November 2011. In addition to its title sponsorship of the Tour, which runs through 2021, Symetra sponsors two events on the tournament schedule—the Symetra Classic and the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship. For more information about Symetra, visit www.symetra.com.
ABOUT THE AJGA
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 12-19) of more than 7,000 members from 50 states and 60 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
TaylorMade and adidas are the AJGA’s National Sponsors, supporting the AJGA for more than 25 years. TaylorMade has served as the Official Ball of the AJGA since 2016. adidas has been the Official Apparel and Footwear of the AJGA since 2017. Rolex, in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 900 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Anna Nordqvist, Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson.