48 Junior Golfers Score Ticket to Play In  ANA Junior Inspiration Tournament

48 Junior Golfers Score Ticket to Play In ANA Junior Inspiration Tournament

Martín Di Felice

Rancho Mirage, CA

Forty-eight of the most talented junior golfers from around the world have secured a dream ticket to compete at the ANA Junior Inspiration in hopes of earning an exemption into the LPGA’s first major championship of the season, the ANA Inspiration. The 54-hole tournament will be hosted from March 22-25, 2018 at Mission Hills Country Club.

ANA Junior Inspiration, organized in partnership between the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), will challenge the 48 AJGA invitation-only golfers over 36 holes on the Pete Dye Challenge Course. For the final round, the junior golfers will have the chance to play on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course with LPGA Legends and each pairing group will feature one Legend and two juniors. Juniors will compete for the stroke-play title and participate in a fun competition among groups in a best-ball format with the Legends.

“Entering into the 2018 ANA Junior Inspiration tournament, we could not be more excited. As the title sponsor of the ANA Inspiration, we wanted to continue to inspire aspiring golfers and have the most exciting tournament in junior golf,” said Mr. Hideki Kunugi, Senior Vice President of the Americas, ANA. “For ANA, it is vital that our sponsorship leaves a lasting legacy and not only inspires the players of today but the future stars of tomorrow. As Japan’s largest airline we are in the business of connecting people so we are thrilled to continue to help connect young players from around the world as they start their inspirational journey in the game.”

The tournament field has earned entry into the ANA Junior Inspiration through ANA Priority Mileage Points Standings, which are based on the Rolex AJGA Rankings. Top qualifiers from ANA’s 11 North American Gateway Cities of Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Vancouver and Washington D.C. will also compete. Each Gateway City Qualifier chose a state or local golf association to receive a $5,000 Gateway City Grant on behalf of ANA. Since the event’s inception in 2017, $110,000 in ANA Gateway City Grants has funded 16 state and local golf organizations to help inspire young golfers and grow the sport.

The AJGA and ANA also extended invitations to six international juniors from England, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines. In total, representatives from 11 foreign countries and 14 states are set to compete at one of the LPGA’s most iconic venues.

The 2018 competition brings together arguably one of the strongest fields in junior golf as nine of the top-10 girls in the Rolex AJGA Rankings will compete, including defending ANAJunior Inspiration champion and current No. 1, Lucy Li of Redwood Shores, California. After playing her way into the 2017 ANA Inspiration, Li earned low-amateur honors. During her AJGA career, Li has won three AJGA Invitationals and made headlines in 2014 as the youngest player ever to compete at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Rachel Heck of Memphis, Tennessee, the AJGA’s reigning Rolex Junior Player of the Year and 2017 ANA Junior Inspiration runner-up is one of 25 Rolex Junior All-Americans vying for the LPGA Major exemption. Twenty-nine AJGA champions will compete at the ANA Junior Inspiration including the AJGA’s first three Girls Invitational champions of 2018: Rolex Tournament of Champions winner, Li; ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex champion, Lei (Angelina) Ye of (China) Bradenton, Florida; and the inaugural Buick Shanshan Feng Girls Invitational champion, Sadie Englemann of Austin, Texas. More than half the field has committed to play college golf.

“Playing in the ANA Junior Inspiration has become a can’t-miss opportunity for the female members of the AJGA,” said AJGA Executive Director Stephen Hamblin. “The AJGA is proud to partner with ANA because it is providing 48 junior girls from around the world with the unique opportunity to participate in a national tournament, play alongside a Legend of golf, give back to their local community through the Gateway City Grant Program and have a chance to qualify for the ANA Inspiration.”

The tournament is the only junior event of its kind in world golf and was created to help young golf careers take-off and reach new heights. From the 2017 ANA Junior Inspiration, all six graduating seniors in the field are currently playing college golf including 2017 Los Angeles Gateway City Qualifier, Alyaa Abdulghany. 

“My experience and performance at the ANA Junior Inspiration enabled me to improve my game on a different level,” said Abdulghany. “Knowing that the course we played had the same setup as an LPGA Major showed me different aspects of my game that I needed to improve on to play college and professional golf. Everything about the environment gave me a better idea of what to expect at the next level and I am thankful to the AJGA and ANA for the opportunity.”  

Prior to its association with the AJGA, the ANA Junior Inspiration operated as an 18-hole qualifier for Southern California-based juniors to earn a spot into the major championship field.

Qualifier Details

Bold indicates Gateway City Qualifier

*Indicates International Exemption

Kynadie Adams, Gallatin, Tenn. (2022)

Amari Avery, Riverside, Calif. (2022)

Lauren Beaudreau, Lemont, Ill. (2019)

Hailey Borja, Lake, Forest, Calif. (2019)

Zoe Antoinette Campos, Valencia, Calif. (2021)

Briana Chacon, Whittier, Calif. (2019)

Ya Chun Chang, Taiwan, Bradenton, Fla. (2018)

Ching-Tzu Chen, Hsinchu, Taiwan (2019)

Kyra Cox, South, Salem, N.Y. (2018)

Sadie Englemann, Austin, Texas (2020)

Montgomery Ferreira, University, Place, Wash. (2021)

Macy Fox, Austin, Texas (2020)

Sophie Guo, China, Orlando, Fla. (2019)

Reese Guzman, Kahului, Hawaii (2019)

Rachel Heck, Memphis, Tenn. (2020)

Lily May Humphreys, Stoke-by-Nayland, United Kingdom (2020)*

Jenny Kim, Heathrow, Fla. (2018)

Xin (Cindy) Kou, China, Windermere, Fla. (2021)

Lucy Li, Redwood, Shores, Calif. (2020)

Amanda Linnér, Onsala, Sweden (2020)

Alexa Melton, Covina, Calif. (2019)

Ashley Menne, Surprise, Ariz. (2020)

Elizabeth Moon, Forrest, City, Ark. (2018)

Malia Nam, Kailua, Hawaii (2018)

Brianna Navarrosa, San, Diego, Calif. (2020)

Grace Ni, Cypress, Texas (2019)

Yealimi Noh, Concord, Calif. (2019)

Natasha Andrea Oon, Kuala, Lumpur, Malaysia (2018)*

Alexa Pano, Lake, Worth, Fla. (2022)

Calista Reyes, Philippines, San, Diego, Calif. (2018)

Pauline Roussin Bouchard, Carqueiranne, France (2018)*

Kanyanat Saithip, Thailand, Bradenton, Fla. (2018)

Yuka Saso, Manila, Philippines (2019)*

Brooke Seay, Rancho, Santa, Fe, Calif. (2019)

Aneka Seumanutafa, Emmitsburg, Md. (2019)

Erica Shepherd, Greenwood, Ind. (2019)

Ivy Shepherd, Peachtree, City, Ga. (2018)

Patricia Sinolungan, Tangerang, Selatan, Indonesia (2018)*

Yujeong Son, South, Korea, Norman, Okla. (2019)

Kailie Vongsaga, Diamond, Bar, Calif. (2019)

Elizabeth Wang, San, Marino, Calif. (2018)

Nicole Whiston, San, Diego, Calif. (2019)

Susan Xiao, China, Surrey, British Columbia (2019)

Suzuka Yamaguchi, Sagamihara, Japan (2019)*

Yuliana Yapur Nava, Morelos, Mexico (2018)

Lei (Angelina) Ye, China, Bradenton, Fla. (2019)

Rose Zhang, Irvine, Calif. (2021)

Zixuan(Jennifer) Zhou, China, Longwood, Fla. (2018)

For more information about the ANA Junior Inspiration, visit www.ANAjuniorinspiration.com.
Stay in touch on social media, go to facebook.com/ANAinspirationtwitter.com/ANAinspiration or instagram.com/ANAinspiration.

About the ANA Inspiration

The ANA Inspiration is golf’s first major and one of the LPGA Tour’s most prestigious events. Previously known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the tournament was founded in 1972 by David Foster and Dinah Shore and earned the designation as a major championship in 1983. Contested at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., since its inception, the ANA Inspiration holds the distinction of being the second oldest golf tournament continuously held at the same course. For many, the event is most distinguished by one of golf’s most beloved traditions: the champion’s leap into Poppie’s Pond, located adjacent to the 18th green. In 1988, the first champion’s leap into Poppie’s Pond was taken by Amy Alcott, and since has become one of the most anticipated and memorable traditions in golf. For more information on the ANA Inspiration, please visit ANAinspiration.com or call 760-834-8872. On social media, visit facebook.com/ANAinspirationtwitter.com/ANAinspiration or instagram.com/ANAinspiration

About the American Junior Golf Association

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018, the American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-19) of more than 6,900 members from 50 states and 60 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, and the Internship Program, which provides career development for future golf professionals, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.

TaylorMade-adidas Golf became the AJGA’s National Sponsor in 2016 after more than 25 years of support and is the Official Ball of the AJGA. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2017, adidas joined the AJGA as a Premier Partner, serving as the Official Apparel and Footwear of the AJGA.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 900 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Anna Nordqvist, Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson.