The first round of the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills has concluded with Shi Hui-Ying of China taking an early lead shooting an impressive opening round of 69. The 14-year-old from Beijing played the Annika Course at Mission Hills in 3 under par, one better than Chinese Taipei’s Huang Yu-Ping. Four players carded level par rounds to sit two shots further back in third.
As the seventh edition of the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills continues, we have two very exciting announcements to make. For the first time since the launch of China’s first and only all-girls event in 2011, the top two players will gain entry to not one, but two qualifying events for the LPGA Tour’s MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open in Auckland in September. Shi leads 71 competitors who are all chasing a dream opportunity to play in an LPGA Tour event.
Another first for this year’s tournament is the introduction of an inaugural team event. It was instituted to celebrate golf’s return to the Olympics as well as Annika’s appointment as captain of the European Solheim Cup team. Two players from each country were selected to team up and standings are based on their combined scores. After round one, teams from Chinese Taipei share first and third places with China in second. USA, India and Hong Kong also feature in the top 10.
The top-three amateurs from Mission Hills will also be invited by Annika to play in the 2018 ANNIKA Invitational USA, an AJGA event which has proved to be the breeding ground for many U.S. college players and several NCAA champions.
Yu Cen Han is among the names high on the leaderboard. This is Han’s sixth time playing in the ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills – she only missed the 2015 event. Yu Cen finished her round today at 1 over par, putting her right in the mix for a chance to win. She is currently tied for fourth place, sharing it with last year’s champion, Ho Yu An from Chinese Taipei.
After a cloudy first round, the players toured the Dr. David Chu Golf Museum. After tomorrow’s round, the girls will attend a clinic conducted by Annika, as well as a gala tournament dinner where they will enjoy a great meal and player talent show!
Second-round tee times will begin at 8:00 a.m. (8:00 p.m. EST) on Thursday off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees of the Annika Course at Mission Hills Golf Club. It will be followed by Annika’s clinic at 3:30 p.m. and tournament dinner at 6 p.m.