Ingrid Lindblad of Halmstad, Sweden, became the first Swedish-born player to win the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex after making par on the first hole of a three-way playoff.
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. Lindblad will receive a Symetra Tour exemption into the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in March.
Lindblad, playing in her first AJGA event, entered the final round three strokes back of the lead at 1-under-par 143. The 18-year-old carded two birdies on her front nine, only to follow both up with bogeys on the subsequent hole to make the turn at even-par 36. Lindblad settled in on the back nine however, making a birdie on the par-4 No. 12 and an eagle on the reachable par-4 No. 14. She got up-and-down on the par-4 No. 18 for par to secure her spot in the playoff at 2-under-par 214.
Lindblad entered the playoff with second-round leader Kaiyuree Moodley of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Jensen Castle of West Columbia, South Carolina. Moodley and Castle both missed the green on their approaches to the par-4 No. 9 and failed to get up-and-down, while Lindblad two-putted for par and the victory.
Moodley, also playing in her first AJGA event, posted two birdies on each nine to finish the tournament with a total of 12. The South African posted the lowest round of the tournament with her second-round 4-under-par 68.
Castle came from behind to gain a spot in the playoff behind her final-round 2-under-par 70. The University of Kentucky signee’s round matched the lowest of the day and included a total of five birdies, with four of them coming on the back nine. Castle’s best finish prior to this tournament was second at the 2018 Foley Performance Academy @ EaglesDream Junior Championship.
Annabell Fuller of London, United Kingdom, and Yuka Saso of Manila, Philippines, finished T4 at 1-under-par 215. Fuller was the first-round leader after posting a 3-under-par 69 in her first AJGA event. This is the latest in a series of top-10 Invitational finishes for Saso, which began with a tenth-place finish at the ANA Junior Inspiration last March. Since then she won the Thunderbird International Junior and finished second at the Rolex Tournament of Champions over Thanksgiving.
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.