(ORLANDO, Fla.) – The ANNIKA Foundation – golf Hall-of-Famer Annika Sorenstam’s charitable organization – enjoyed yet another successful tournament season, hosting six events around the world in 2017.
The ANNIKA Invitational USA (Florida), ANNIKA Invitational Mission Hills (China), ANNIKA Cup and ANNIKA Invitational Europe (Sweden), ANNIKA Invitational Latin America (Argentina) and ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M (Minnesota) welcomed more than 320 competitors from 40-plus countries.
Since the Foundation’s inception, more than 500 ANNIKA alumnae have taken the next step to play NCAA golf. Furthermore, 32 ANNIKA event competitors have played on the LPGA over the last decade, with seven more earning their cards this year.
“Share My Passion” clinics (held in conjunction with the LPGA and USGA) and grassroots initiatives like ANNIKA Junior Day in Memory of Holly Baxter are also crucial to furthering the Foundation’s mission of offering girls the opportunity to pursue their dreams on and off the course.
“The Foundation enjoyed a tremendous 2017 and continues to open doors for girls around the world,” says Annika. “And 2018 is shaping up to be an even bigger year, with us bringing the 10th ANNIKA Invitational USA to a new venue, the World Golf Village, and the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M being played at a course I re-designed with Mr. Palmer in Minnesota, Royal Golf Club.”
Annika is intimately involved with all aspects of the events – skills clinics where she shares her “Winning Approach” philosophy, appearances at gala dinners and awards presentations, following on-course action in person, and more. In 2017, she flew more than 45,000 miles to support Foundation tournaments.
Complementing its tournament initiatives, for the fourth year the Foundation, in partnership with the Haskins Commission and Golfweek, bestowed the ANNIKA Award Presented by 3M. Duke junior Leona Maguire won her second ANNIKA Award, adding to the trophy she captured as a freshman in 2015. Leona recently announced she will return to Duke for her senior year, foregoing an opportunity to play professionally until she earns her degree.
Her decision exemplifies the Foundation’s “More than Golf”’ philosophy. The Foundation is devoted to sharing best practices about fitness, nutrition and other life skills that will impact competitors beyond the golf course.
“I want to offer a special thank you to all the girls who took part in Foundation initiatives this year, as well as the Foundation team who works so hard to make it all possible and our partners 3M, AHEAD, Callaway, Cutter & Buck, Mastercard, Rolex and The R&A,” adds Annika. “I’m so proud that we’re changing lives through golf, a sport that has given me so much.”
ANNIKA Invitational USA
- 72 Players
- 12 countries represented
- 39 players in field committed to play college golf
- Amanda Linner (Sweden) shot tournament-record 64 in round three
- Winner: Brooke Seay (USA)
ANNIKA Invitational Mission Hills
- 69 players
- Seven countries represented
- Strongest field yet: seven of top-10 ranked juniors in China, top four from India, seven of the leading players from Chinese Taipei and three from Hong Kong
- Hole-in-one in round one by winner Hui-Ying Shi (China)
ANNIKA Invitational Europe
- 78 players
- Tournament-record 20 countries represented
- 11 of 12 of players on Europe’s PING Jr. Solheim Cup Team were in the field
- Ingrid Lindbland (Sweden) had a hole-in-one in round two
- Sofia Seldemirova (Bulgaria) shot a tournament-record-tying 65
- Winner: Amanda Linner (Sweden)
ANNIKA Invitational Latin America
- 48 players
- 18 countries represented
- 2016 champion Agustina Gomez Cisterna (Argentina) had a hole-in-one in Round 1
- Winner: Valeria Pacheco (Puerto Rico)
ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M
- 12 of the country’s top Division I women’s programs
- Two holes-in-one: Kate Lillie (Minnesota) in round 2 Macarena Aguilera (Miami) in final round
- Team Champion: Arkansas
- Individual Champion: Maria Fassi (Arkansas)
- Leona Maguire (Duke)
For more information: www.annikasorenstam.com/foundation.
About the ANNIKA Foundation
Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation (www.annikasorenstam.com/foundation) to help teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams. 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 five major golf events for aspiring junior girls: the AJGA ANNIKA Invitational 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. 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, ANNIKA Junior Day and scholarships for aspiring Swedish juniors are other important initiatives.