Ashleen Kaur sank a 40-foot eagle putt on the final hole to defeat Alice Ziyi Zhao of Irvine and Katie Li by one stroke in the 15th ANNIKA Invitational at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Fla.
Kaur, from Cypress, Texas, and committed to Baylor, posted a score of 69-66-69—204, 15-under-par to break the tournament scoring record by four shots, while Zhao finished at 68-66-71—205, and Li, of Basking Ridge, N.J., and committed to Duke, wound up at 69-67-69—205.
“It means a lot to compete in this event hosted by Annika,” said Kaur, who last won at the 2022 C.T. Pan Junior Championship in Houston and accepted the trophy from World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam of Sweden. “She was a huge inspiration to me growing up so, getting to compete here and win it is incredible.”
By winning, Kaur qualified to participate in the amateur field of the LPGA Tour’s Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions this week at Lake Nona Golf @ Country Club in Orlando beginning Thursday.
The 13-year-old Zhao, who captured the Arizona Silver Belle Championship and the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational last year, took a one-shot lead into the final round and increased her lead to two at the turn after a run of three consecutive birdies on holes No. 6 through 8.
However, four-time Rolex Junior All-American Li made four birdies in a span of eight holes to tie for the lead, before Kaur passed them both with her brilliant putt on the final hole.
Vanessa Borovilos of Canada was fourth at 69-68-71—208, followed by Lauren Kim, also of Canada, at 70-72-67—209, while Rianne Malixi if San Bernardino shot 72-73-65—210 to tie for sixth with Kiara Romero of San Jose, who totaled 73-67-70—210, and Nika Ito of Japan, who finished at 72-71-67—210.
Thanana Kotchasanmanee of Thailand posted a score of 72-70-69—211 to tie for ninth with Trinity Beth of Calvert City, Ky., who came in at 73-67-71—211.
Defending champion Yana Wilson of Henderson, Nev., tied for 30th 71-75-72—218, while Anna Davis of Spring Valley, who was second last year, tied for 14th at 74-70-70—214.
On the final hole a year ago, Wilson holed out for an eagle from 75 yards to turn back Davis on the first playoff hole.
The ANNIKA Invitational featured 72 of the top female junior golfers in the world, including 16 of the top 25 in the Rolex American Junior Golf Association Girls Rankings.
Previous winners of the ANNIKA Invitational include Simin Feng, who won the first playing of the event in 2009, Celine Boutier, Alison Lee, Bethany Wu, Angel Yin, Brooke Seay, Angelina Kee and Ingrid Lindblad.
For complete results, visit https://www.ajga.org/tournaments/2023/hilton-grand-vacations-annika-invitational-presented-by-rolex/leaderboard