ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex
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ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex

Fuller leads in first AJGA event

Halama, Saso sit one stroke back

Annabell Fuller of London, United Kingdom, leads the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex by one after an opening-round, 3-under-par 69.

The 11th ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex boasts a field featuring the best female junior golfers from around the world. The 72-player field includes seven of the top-25 girls in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and two of the top 10. The champion will receive a Symetra Tour exemption into the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in March.

Fuller, started her round with a bogey at No. 1 but quickly recovered with birdies at Nos. 2 and 4, making the turn at 1-under-par 35. The 16-year-old, playing in her first AJGA event, tallied two more birdies on Nos. 10 and 11. Fuller had no bogeys after the turn and finished with a 2-under-par 34 on the back nine.

Lexanne Halama of Knoxville, Tennessee, is tied for second after carding a 2-under-par 70. She had three birdies and just one bogey during her round. Currently No. 106 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, Halama recently finished runner-up at the 2018 AJGA Junior at RiverWatch and has four top-5 finishes in her AJGA career.

Also tied for second is Yuka Saso of Manila, Philippines. She had four birdies in the first round on her way to a 2-under-par 70, one back from Fuller. The University of Georgia verbal commit finished runner-up twice in 2018 at the Rolex Tournament of Champions and at the inaugural ANNIKA Invitational Australasia. She has one win in her AJGA career at the 2018 Thunderbird International Junior.

Valentina Rossi of Rosario, Argentina, Mika Jin of Fremont, California, and Nicole Whiston of San Diego, California are tied for fourth at 1-under-par 71.

The second round will take place Sunday, January 20, on Nos. 1 and 10 from 8:15 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.

For more information or photo requests, please contact Trevor Beshear ( at 573-645-7336.

About the ANNIKA Foundation

Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation to provide opportunities in women’s golf at the junior, collegiate and professional levels while teaching young people the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition. The Foundation has partnered with key organizations to promote healthy, active lifestyles for children, including SPARK, Florida Hospital for Children in support of its Healthy 100 Kids initiative and The First Tee in development of the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum for children.

It annually conducts six major golf events for aspiring junior girls: the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida; ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in China; ANNIKA Invitational Europe and ANNIKA Cup in Sweden; and, in association with the R&A, the ANNIKA Invitational Latin America and ANNIKA Invitational Australasia. In 2013, the Foundation’s reach extended to the collegiate ranks with the ANNIKA Award presented by 3M (awarded to most outstanding female NCAA Division I golfer) and ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M (12 team, 54-hole event in Minnesota). SPARK grants to schools, financial support of Healthy 100 Kids, endowing an AJGA ACE Grant, and the “Share My Passion” Golf Clinics are other areas of emphasis.

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 6,900 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.