Future Stars Shine In ANNIKA Invitational At Mission Hills
Speaking during the sixth ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills, the legendary Swedish golfer predicted an exciting decade aheadon the LPGA Tour for Asian females in general and Chinese in particular. “It takes time to build champions, but in the next 10 years you’ll see more and more success stories from China, on both the men’s and women’s Tours,” said Sorenstam, a 10-time Major winner during a glittering career. More than 70 players from around Asia competed in the 2016 ANNIKA Invitational over the Sorenstamdesigned Annika Course at Mission Hills Shenzhen. Among them were no fewer than seven of the top-10 players from the China Golf Association’s national junior rankings.
Overall victory went to An Ho-yu, a talented 12-year-old from Chinese Taipei with a handicap index of 0.1 on April 29. An posted an accomplished closing two-under-par 70 for a tournament total of five-under-par. That was two strokes ahead of secondplaced Tseng Tsai-ching, also from Chinese Taipei.
The top three players from the ANNIKA Invitational receive coveted berths in the ANNIKA Invitational in the United States. Meanwhile, the overall champion will be invited to play in the World Ladies Championship 2017. Sorenstam was impressed withthe overall quality of the play – and also the way in which the ANNIKA Invitational has grown in stature since its inception in 2011. She said: “I’m very happy that we’ve been here six years now. We started as the first all-girls junior tournament in China and have grown nicely. It seems like every year we get a little bit better. It takes a while to establish a tournament but I really feel we’ve come a long way. “This week we’ve had seven different countries represented. I feel really good about our tournament this year. There are some players that have been coming now for several years and that shows they’re happy to be here. The more we can do these type of things then the better the youth movement in this part of the world will be.” Tenniel Chu, Vice Chairman of the Mission Hills Group, said: “Much like Annika, Mission Hills has always placed a strong emphasis on supporting junior golf and providing encouragement for those starting out in the game. Over the course of the past 20 years, Mission Hills has hosted dozens of tournaments for boys and girls as well as offering free golf at a selection of our courses. It’s rewarding, therefore, when we see so much talent coming through at the ANNIKA Invitational.” The ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills was the first junior girls-only tournament in China and Asia and the first ANNIKA Invitational event outside United States. It is also counted as part of the World Amateur Golf Ranking system and the China Golf Association’s Junior Ranking.