Golfing legend Annika Sorenstam has announced that she will return to southern China on April 25 to host the eighth edition of her hugely-popular Annika Invitational at Mission Hills. Launched in 2011 as China’s first and only all-girls event, this year features the strongest ever line-up in a field of more than 100 entries.
Headlining the long list of top female golfers in action at the Mission Hills Dongguan resort from April 25-27 will be four of the top-10 ranked players in China, including number one, Wang Jia-Yi. The 14-year-old recently returned from the inaugural Major Champions Invitational in the USA, hosted by Sir Nick Faldo, having been invited to represent Team Annika following her third-place finish at Mission Hills last year.
China’s number two ranked girl, An Tong will also be action, up against a large contingent of overseas golfers from countries including Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Singapore.
“It’s really incredible how much our event has grown since its inception in 2011,” said 10-time major champion Annika, recently ranked number 6 on ESPN’s list of all-time Most Dominant Athletes. “We’re delighted to have such an exceptional partner in Mission Hills and look forward to yet another extremely successful tournament.”
“We are always delighted to welcome Annika back to her home away from home at Mission Hills and we are in awe of the time and effort she devotes to growing golf globally, including here in China,” added Tenniel Chu, Group Vice-Chairman of Mission Hills. “This year promises to be extra special with so many strong entries. It is also the year of the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina which we will celebrate with an extra team event, giving the players a chance to bid for selection for Buenos Aires 2018.”
With R&A and CGA ranking points on offer, top female golfers aged nine to 17 will compete over three rounds on the highly-acclaimed Annika Course at Mission Hills Dongguan for the title of champion and a place in the prestigious Annika Invitational in the USA. Last year’s champion, Shi Hui-Ying will not defend due to injury.
Annika will spend time with the players both on and off the course, sharing the knowledge and experiences that have made her the most successful female golfer of all time with more than 90 international wins as a professional.
Photos – Annika Sorenstam with players and local schoolchildren during the 2017 ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in Shenzhen, China.
Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation (www.annikafoundation.org) to provide opportunities in women’s golf at the junior, collegiate and professional levels while teaching young people the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition. The Foundation has partnered with key organizations to promote healthy, active lifestyles for children, including SPARK, Florida Hospital for Children in support of its Healthy 100 Kids initiative and The First Tee in development of the Nine Healthy Habits curriculum for children.
It annually conducts five major golf events for aspiring junior girls: the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla.; ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in China; ANNIKA Invitational Europe and ANNIKA Cup in Sweden; and, in association with The R&A, the ANNIKA Invitational Latin America in Argentina. In 2013, the Foundation’s reach extended to the collegiate ranks with the ANNIKA Award presented by 3M (awarded to most outstanding female NCAA Division I golfer) and ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M (12 team, 54-hole event in Minnesota). SPARK grants to schools, financial support of Healthy 100 Kids, endowing an AJGA ACE Grant, and the “Share My Passion” Golf Clinics are other areas of emphasis.
Mission Hills Group, owner and operator of Mission Hills resorts in the heart of the Pearl River Delta and on the tropical island of Hainan, is synonymous with leisure, wellness, entertainment and luxury.
Founded in 1992, Mission Hills is recognized as one of the world’s leading golf brands and a pioneer in China’s hospitality, sports and leisure industry. The world-class integrated leisure and wellness resort destinations have hosted more than 100 international tournaments, dating back to the World Cup of Golf in 1995, the first international golf tournament in China. Mission Hills has also been accredited by the Guinness World Records as the “World’s Largest Golf Club” and the “World’s Largest Mineral Springs and Spa Resort”.
Mission Hills’ properties sprawl over 40km2. They include 22 championship courses designed by renowned players and architects from five continents, five-star resorts, award-winning spas and volcanic mineral springs, international convention centers, state-of-the-art golf academies, a 20-pitch football training base, Asia’s largest basketball school and Asia’s biggest tennis facility. Mission Hills is also the official training headquarters for China’s Tennis, Football and Golf Associations.
The Group’s ‘golf and more’ leisure philosophy has catalyzed its tourism-related business expansion into a leisure hub for multi-generational families. Mission Hills Centreville in Shenzhen and Haikou provides integrated shopping, recreational, business, education, entertainment, leisure and cultural experiences, including Bromsgrove School Mission Hills in Shenzhen in collaboration with the historic British boarding school. Mission Hills has also extended its foray into the hospitality industry by partnering with world-renowned hotel brands such as Hard Rock, Renaissance and Ritz-Carlton. These collaborations have seen the opening of Ritz-Carlton’s first golf resort hotel in China and China’s first Hard Rock Hotel in Shenzhen.
Other significant projects include Movie Town in Haikou in partnership with China’s largest film production company, Huayi Brothers Media Corporation and award-winning director, Feng Xiaogang and China’s first Wet’n’Wild water park in collaboration with Australia’s leading entertainment group and largest theme park operator, Village Roadshow Limited.
Mission Hills has also announced ground-breaking partnerships with FC Barcelona and the NBA to bring the world’s most famous football club and the world’s largest professional basketball league to its Haikou resort, making Hainan island a leading hub for football and basketball development in China.
For more information and latest updates, visit us at www.missionhillschina.com or follow Mission Hills China on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.