Shenzhen, China: Annika Sorenstam will return to southern China next month to host the eighth edition of her popular Annika Invitational at Mission Hills.
Launched in 2011 as China’s first and only all-girls event, this year features the strongest ever line-up in a field of more than 100 entries.
Headlining the list of top female golfers in action at the Mission Hills Dongguan resort from April 25-27 will be four of the top-10 ranked players in China, including number one Wang Jiayi.
The 14-year-old participated in the inaugural Major Champions Invitational in America, hosted by Sir Nick Faldo, having been invited to represent Team Annika following her third-place finish at Mission Hills last year.
An Tong, China’s number two ranked girl, will also be in action against a powerful contingent of overseas golfers from Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Singapore.
“It’s incredible how much our event has grown since its inception in 2011,” said 10-time Major champion Sorenstam, recently ranked sixth on ESPN’s list of all-time Most Dominant Athletes.
“We’re delighted to have such an exceptional partner in Mission Hills and look forward to yet another extremely successful tournament,” she said.
Tenniel Chu, Group Vice-Chairman of Mission Hills, said: “We are always delighted to welcome Annika back to her home away from home at Mission Hills and we are in awe of the time and effort she devotes to growing golf globally, including here in China.
“This year promises to be extra special with so many strong entries. It is also the year of the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina which we will celebrate with an extra team event, giving the players a chance to bid for selection for Buenos Aires 2018.”
With R&A and China Golf Association ranking points on offer, top female golfers aged between nine to 17 will compete over three rounds on the Annika Course at Mission Hills Dongguan for the title of champion and a place in the Annika Invitational in the USA.
Due to injury, last year’s champion, Shi Hui-ying, will not defend her title.
Sorenstam will spend time with the players both on and off the course, sharing the knowledge and experiences that have made her the most successful female golfer of all time with more than 90 international wins as a professional.