Dongguan, China: Some of the best female junior golfers in Asia are ready to do battle in the fourth annual Annika Invitational.
Swedish golfing great Annika Sorenstam is the tournament host and will be guest of honour, conducting a skills clinic and handing out trophies to the winners.
Players will compete in two age groups – 12-15 and 16-18 – and all three rounds will be played on the Sorenstam-designed Annika Course at Mission Hills Dongguan.
The top three finishers will graduate to the Annika International Invitational in the United States while the overall winner will be invited to play in the World Ladies Championship – co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and China LPGA Tour – at Mission Hills Haikou in March next year.
This year’s field, which contains players from China, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines, will be aiming to follow in the pioneering footsteps of Chinese teenager Ji Rong.
The talented Ji won last year’s Annika Invitational by three shots and went on to make the cut in this season’s World Ladies Championship, which was won by Korean superstar Park In-bee.
“Our desire to help grow women’s golf is absolute and the Annika Invitational, with the winner being invited to the World Ladies Championship, is a pillar of this commitment,” said Tenniel Chu, Mission Hills Group Vice Chairman.
“No other golf club in the world does as much as we do for junior golf – we have some 43 junior tournaments this year alone and three of our courses are open free of charge, year-round, for players under 16. We are, of course, a family-friendly organisation and equality between boys and girls is a key component of our various development programmes.
“We are delighted to welcome Annika back to Mission Hills and we are sure the girls playing this week will be thrilled to meet and learn from such a legend and role model.”
For the first time, scores in the Annika Invitational will contribute to the China Golf Association’s Junior Rankings. Results from the event are already factored in to the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
In a line-up packed with young talent, 15-year-old Sui Xiang of China will be one of the favourites. She was overall winner of the 2012 Annika Invitational and was crowned girls’ overall champion in this year’s Mission Hills Jack Nicklaus Junior Championship.
Sorenstam – the greatest female golfer of her generation and often regarded as the best of all time – said: “I’m very pleased to be working with Mission Hills to help grow the game in China. Mission Hills has done an incredible job developing the game and we are happy we can work together to offer opportunities to junior golfers and to get children living active, healthy lifestyles.
“We hope the Annika Invitational at Mission Hills will leave a lasting legacy to develop future generations of female golfers in China.”
Birmingham, England: The PGA of Great Britain & Ireland is inviting all those who work or volunteer in golf to join its new membership groups – the Business Management Group and Club Volunteer by PGA.