Annika and the AJGA team up to host girls tourney

September 30, 2008

As the featured speaker at last November's American Junior Golf Association awards banquet, Annika Sorenstam made a notable impression on many of the game's top junior golfers. It turns out the reverse also occurred as Sorenstam has decided to lend her name to a newly created AJGA tournament beginning next year.

The ANNIKA Invitational will feature a field of 60 girls selected from the Polo Golf Junior Rankings and including a handful of international invitees. The inaugural three-day event, hosted by the Annika Foundation, will be held Jan. 17-19, 2009 at Ginn Reunion Resort's Independence (Watson) Course outside of Orlando. A junior-am fundraising tournament similar to an LPGA Pro-Am will be held Jan. 16.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to be hosting this AJGA event," said Sorenstam, who is set to retire from the LPGA Tour later this year. "My intention has always been to help give back to the game of golf that has given me so much. By providing these juniors a chance to learn about competition, health and nutrition and the camaraderie in golf, we are truly seeing the mission of the Annika Foundation come to life."

"It is truly an honor for the AJGA to partner with Annika Sorenstam on this special girls' tournament," said AJGA executive director Stephen Hamblin. "It is a rare opportunity for young players to learn from a Hall of Famer who is committed to sharing her passion for the game with golf's next generation. It is sure to be a lifetime experience that these girls will never forget."

Proceeds from the event will be used to endow an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant in Sorenstam's name. The AJGA created the ACE Grant program in 2003 to help young golfers be able to compete in junior competitions regardless of their financial resources. Since the program's inception, the AJGA has awarded 255 ACE Grants to 170 juniors totaling nearly $937,000.

--Ryan Herrington