Inaugural ANNIKA Invitational Australasia Coming to New Zealand
Famed Royal Wellington Golf Club Ready to Host Region’s Top Girls, Event’s Namesake
The ANNIKA Foundation – golf Hall-of-Famer Annika Sorenstam’s charitable organization – will host the inaugural ANNIKA Invitational Australasia at Royal Wellington Golf Club in Wellington, New Zealand, Dec. 13-16.
The 54-hole, stroke-play event will welcome participants ages 12-18 from as far away as South Korea. It is the first ANNIKA Invitational to be played in the region, joining the global circuit of ANNIKA girls’ tournaments held on four other continents – North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The top-three finishers in the ANNIKA Invitational Australasia will earn exemptions into the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. (Jan. 18-21, 2019).
Players scheduled to compete include Grace Kim, the 2018 Golf Australia Order of Merit winner. With seven top-10 finishes in 2018, Kim has really been rounding into form of late, winning the gold medal in Buenos Aires at October’s Youth Olympic Games and the Federal Women’s Amateur Open Championship in November.
She will be challenged by a strong Kiwi contingent, led by Juliana Hung. A Youth Olympic Games participant, Hung has recorded six top-10 finishes this year, highlighted by wins at the Canterbury Stroke Play, New Zealand Women’s Stroke Play Championship and South Island U19.
“I can’t think of a better place to close out our 2018 season than New Zealand,” says Annika, who has traveled more than 60,000 miles this year to support ANNIKA Foundation tournaments. “It’s such a gorgeous country, and Royal Wellington has an impressive tournament pedigree. Many thanks to New Zealand Golf, The R&A, Mastercard, Rolex, Cutter & Buck, AHEAD and Callaway for their support in bringing our Foundation’s ‘More Than Golf’ mission Down Under.”
While onsite, Annika will headline a gala dinner for competitors, as well as lead a skills clinic focusing on both on-course and off-course tips for success.
Host of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, Royal Wellington is widely regarded as one of the finest members’ golf clubs in the Southern Hemisphere. Women have played a strong role in the club’s history – it was co-founded by a woman, its founding committee featured equal numbers of men and women, and the women’s committee selected the club colors. This progressive history makes it an ideal inaugural venue for the ANNIKA Invitational Australasia. A further glimpse at the club and New Zealand can be seen in this short video.
ANNIKA Foundation tournaments complementing the ANNIKA Invitational Australasia are the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex, the ANNIKA Invitational Europe (Sweden), ANNIKA Invitational Mission Hills (China) and, in association with the R&A, ANNIKA Invitational Latin America (Argentina). The Foundation also runs the ANNIKA Cup, ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M and bestows the prestigious ANNIKA Award presented by 3M to NCAA Division I’s best female golfer.
Since the inaugural Foundation tournament – the 2009 ANNIKA Invitational USA – 32 ANNIKA event alumnae have earned LPGA cards. Twenty-four alumnae competed in the 2018 ANA Inspiration.
For more information, please visit www.annikafoundation.org.
About the ANNIKA Foundation
Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation (www.annikafoundation.org) 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, Fla.; 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 in Argentina and ANNIKA Invitational Australasia in New Zealand. 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.