Hui-Ying Shi claimed a thrilling final-hole victory in the seventh-annual ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills Golf Club in southern China. The 14-year-old from China immediately thanked 10-time major champion Annika for inspiring her to her first international win.
“I’m so excited to win my first big event, and I want to thank Annika for her talk last night,” said Beijing-resident Hui-Ying. “She told me to remain positive no matter what and just go out and enjoy myself – so that’s what I did!”
Shi fired a final-round 70 having led after day one with a three-under 69 – which included a hole-in-one – but then struggled with a 73 in the second round. She managed to hold her nerve over a par putt on the 54th and final hole and finish at 4-under-par, one ahead of her playing partner and last year’s champion, Ho-Yu An from Chinese Taipei.
China’s Jia-Yi Wang finished in third place after leading going into the final day. She struggled to a 73 on the par-72 Annika Course at Mission Hills in Shenzhen. The top three players were all in the Under 15 Division.
Zi Lin Han of China won the Under 11 Division after a final round 85 for a 32-over-par 248 total.
Shi and An are now one step closer to a dream opportunity of playing on the LPGA Tour, as this year’s top two amateurs will play the official qualifier for the New Zealand Women’s Open in Auckland. The duo will also be invited to the 2018 ANNIKA Invitational USA, along with third-place finisher Wang.
Launched in 2011, this year’s ANNIKA Invitational Mission Hills featured its strongest field yet. A field of 70 girls ages nine to 17 featured seven of the top-10 ranked juniors in China, the top four girls from India, seven of the leading players from Chinese Taipei and three from Hong Kong.
This concludes another successful ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills. We were treated to some fantastic golf and a lot of fun activities all week long. Thank you to Mission Hills Golf Club for all its support this week.
To see the final leaderboard, click here.