The ANNIKA Invitational Europe, an elite junior golf championship founded by Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam for the 78 best females residing in Europe, will be played for the first time in Sweden in late summer 2012.
The tournament will be held 31 August – 2 September, 2012 at Linkopings Golf Club in Annika’s native country,Sweden. The 54-hole stroke play competition, modelled after the award-winning ANNIKA Invitational in theUnited States, will feature 78 participants from European countries. Annika, winner of 89 professional tournaments (72 on the LPGA Tour) and 10 major championships during her 15-year Hall of Fame career, will also host a number of activities, including skills clinics and educational sessions for the participants.
“Expanding our ANNIKA Invitational series toEuropehas been a dream of mine,” said Annika. “I want to continue to inspire young girls to focus on golf and being active while teaching them life lessons along the way. This will give my Foundation three world-class junior tournaments in different regions of the world. Bringing this tournament to my native country,Sweden, was an obvious choice.”
The three low finishers in ANNIKA Invitational Europe will win coveted berths to the ANNIKA Invitational that Annika hosts in theUnited States. That tournament, started by the ANNIKA Foundation, is an official American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournament inOrlando,Fla.The AJGA is widely regarded as the best junior golf circuit in the world, and has awarded the ANNIKA Invitational inOrlandotwo national awards, including “Best Invitational” for girls.
The ANNIKA Invitational began in partnership with the AJGA in the United States in 2009 and expanded to Mission Hills,Chinain 2011. The ANNIKA Invitational Europe is a collaboration between the ANNIKA Foundation, the Swedish Golf Federation (SGF), Skandia and Linkopings Golf Club. Since 2007, the SGF, Skandia and Annika have partnered on the ANNIKA Cup, an annual match play competition for twelve of the top amateur girls inSweden. The ANNIKA Cup, which invites younger top junior girls, will continue to be played each year immediately preceding or after the ANNIKA Invitational Europe at Annika’s childhood course, Bro Balsta Golf Club, near Stockholm.
“For us at Skandia, the ANNIKA Invitational is part of our long-term efforts to support young girls in junior golf. We know the past success of the ANNIKA Invitational’s will lead to a wonderful tournament here in Europe,” said Ing-Britt Ekberg, Skandia’s sponsorship manager.
“We are thrilled that the ANNIKA Invitational Europe will bring greater attention to Swedish girls’ golf,” said Magnus Grankvist, head of the junior golf at the SGF. “We are proud to be linked with Annika and the Foundation partners, including the AJGA. It is wonderful that the top juniors from Europe will have the opportunity to play in the AJGA version in theUnited States”
“We are proud to host the inaugural ANNIKA Invitational Europe,” said Carl-Stephan Rundquist, president of Linkoping Golf Course. “We feel it is important to continue to grow the game of golf among young people.”
The ANNIKA Foundation www.annikafoundation.org