ANNIKA Foundation Adds ANNIKA Invitational Australasia to Global Tournament Circuit
Foundation Reaches Its Fifth Continent with Junior Girls’ Event at Famed Royal Wellington Golf Club to be Supported by New Zealand Golf
(ORLANDO, Fla.) – The ANNIKA Foundation – golf Hall-of-Famer Annika Sorenstam’s charitable organization – will host the first-annual ANNIKA Invitational Australasia, December 13-16, 2018, at Royal Wellington Golf Club in Wellington, New Zealand. The ANNIKA Invitational Australasia will extend the Foundation’s global tournament circuit to a fifth continent, joining ANNIKA events in North America, South America, Asia and Europe. Seventy-two of the region’s top girls – 25 from New Zealand, 25 from Australia and 22 from surrounding countries – will compete in a 54-hole, stroke-play format. The top-three finishers will earn exemptions into the 2019 ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. As with other ANNIKA Invitationals, the Foundation’s “More Than Golf” mission will be front and center in the form of expert-led seminars, gala dinners and an Annika-led clinic for competitors. Founded in 1895, 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 atmosphere continues to this day. Royal Wellington’s proud tournament heritage was most recently on display again when it hosted the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in conjunction with the Masters Tournament, the R&A and the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation. "Royal Wellington is delighted to host Australasia’s first ANNIKA Invitational golf tournament and partner with Annika who is a golf legend,” says Barry Brown, Captain of Royal Wellington Golf Club. “The event fits extremely well with our focus on women and youth in golf, and is a fabulous opportunity to showcase our club and city when we welcome Annika and the region’s best junior women.” New Zealand Golf is a non-profit charitable trust established in 1910 as the game’s in-country governing body. It provides a wide range of services such as overseeing the rules, running the national handicapping system and managing 20 elite golf tournaments, including the New Zealand’s Men’s and Women’s Open Championships. “Hosting the ANNIKA Invitational Australasia in New Zealand is an enormous opportunity and we are looking forward to December’s inaugural event,” says Dean Murphy, chief executive of New Zealand Golf. “Our organization is committed to growing the number of women and girls engaged in the game, and we see the ANNIKA Invitational Australasia as an ideal tournament to help us achieve this goal.” “This is an exciting time for the ANNIKA Foundation as we welcome yet another girls’ tournament to our global calendar of events,” says Annika. “Royal Wellington’s rich history and New Zealand’s exceptional beauty will combine to set a shining example for future editions to follow. I can’t wait to visit this December.” This video gives a glimpse of what awaits competitors. 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.