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INAGAKI CROWNED FIRST JAPANESE CHAMPION OF ANNIKA INVITATIONAL

2018-04-27

[Shenzhen, China – 27 April 2018] Nanako Inagaki became the first ever Japanese winner of an ANNIKA Invitational tournament with a wire-to-wire victory in the global all-girls event at the Mission Hills Dongguan resort in southern China.

17-year-old Inagaki carded a three under 69 in the final round to finish on 207, nine under par for the 54-hole tournament.  However the 2017 Golf Digest Japan Junior Cup winner needed a birdie putt on the final hole to hold off a thrilling challenge from Chinese Taipei’s An Ho-Yu. The 14-year-old 2016 ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills champion fired a 66, including six birdies in an incredible back nine of 30, to finish on 208, one behind her playing partner. 

Inagaki and An qualify for the prestigious ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex by virtue of their top three finish. They will be joined by China’s Judy Yin and Chou Yi-Ting of Chinese Taipei who tied for third on five under par.

There was more local success for mainland China in the Girls’ 9-10 category with a win for 10-year-old Han Zi-Lin while Hong Kong’s Arianna Lau, also 10, finished runner up.

Launched in 2011 as China’s first and only all-girls event, this year’s ANNIKA Invitational featured another long list of top female golfers in action at the luxury Mission Hills Dongguan resort.

Some of the top ranked juniors in China were up against the largest ever contingent of overseas golfers, representing countries including Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Singapore and the USA.

“It’s really incredible how much our event has grown since its inception in 2011,” said 10-time Major champion Annika, recently ranked number 6 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 in 2019.”

“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,” added Tenniel Chu, Group Vice-Chairman of Mission Hills.
 
With R&A and CGA ranking points on offer, top female golfers aged nine to 17 competed over three rounds on the highly-acclaimed Annika Course at Mission Hills Dongguan for the title of champion and a place in the prestigious ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex.

Annika spent 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 89 international wins as a professional.

Leading final results: Girls’ 15-17: 207 – Nanako Inagaki (JPN) 70 68 69; 211 – Judy Yin (CHN) 73 70 68, Chou Yi-Ting (TPE) 72 69 70. Girls’ 11-14: 208 – An Ho-Yu (TPE) 69 73 66; 223 – Huang Ting-Hsuan (TPE) 70 79 74; 231 – Hsu Huai-Chien (TPE) 81 75 75.  Girls’ 9-10: 220 – Han Zi-Lin (CHN) 76 75 69; 235 – Arianna Lau (HKG) 79 78 78; 242 – Wang Xin-Yu (CHN) 87 75 80. 

Photos:

1-3 – Nanako Inagaki becomes the first Japanese winner of an ANNIKA Invitational tournament with a wire-to-wire victory in the global all-girls event at the Mission Hills Dongguan resort in southern China.

4 – Nanako Inagaki of Japan and Chinese Taipei’s An Ho-Yu (centre right) with Han Zhi-Shan (far left) of Mission Hills Group and Casey Ceman (far right) of the ANNIKA Foundation.  Inagaki and An qualify for the prestigious ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex by virtue of their top three finish. They will be joined by China’s Judy Yin and Chou Yi-Ting of Chinese Taipei who tied for third.

5-8 – 10-time Major champion Annika Sorenstam spent time with competitors at the eighth ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in Dongguan, southern China.