One of three AJGA Invitationals taking place this weekend is at Reunion Resort in Reunion, Fla. The Annika Invitational is a girls, invitation-only event featuring juniors from 17 states, 11 countries and Puerto Rico. In the 72-player field, 38 participants were named Rolex Junior All-Americans and 21 players have made commitments (either verbally or via a binding national letter of intent) to play college golf. This one of the top girls fields on the junior circuit.
Since the tournament’s inception in 2009, three (of four) international players have won the Annika Invitational (Simin Feng of China, Victoria Tanco of Argentina and Celine Boutier of France). Last year, Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., won and broke the consecutive-years streak by foreign-born players winning.
Lee is not back this year to defend her title.
Let’s take a closer look at 5 players to watch when the -nvitational starts on Saturday, Jan. 19:
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Shannon Aubert, Reunion, Fla. (2014)
No. 8 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, Aubert is coming off a runner-up finish at the South Atlantic Amateur in Ormond Beach, Fla., last weekend and top-20s at the Harder Hall Women’s Invitational and the Dixie Women’s Amateur. “I’m really looking forward to it . . . I just need to work out some tweaks in chipping, but otherwise I feel pretty confident,” Aubert said about coming into this week. Last year, she finished in solo second behind Lee. She earned Rolex Junior All-America honors for her fourth consecutive year in 2012.
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Linnea Strom, Hovas, Sweden (2015)
We may not know much about her, but she has a pretty impressive resume. Strom won the inaugural Annika Invitational Europe in August. She is the top-ranked female junior golfer in Sweden. In 2012, she finished seventh at The Duke of York Young Champions Trophy, tied for fourth at the Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship and represented Team Europe at the Junior Ryder Cup at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club in September.
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Yueer ‘Cindy’ Feng, Orlando, Fla. (2014)
She has been prominent on the junior scene seemingly forever, and has been playing pretty good golf since November when she won the Golfweek East Coast Junior Invitational. She finished fourth at the South Atlantic Amateur after leading after the first round, placed seventh at the Harder Hall Women’s Invitational and was runner-up at the Dixie Women’s Amateur. Talk about starting the new year off strong.
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Ashlan Ramsey, Milledgeville, Ga. (2013)
When her game’s on, it’s on. The Clemson-commit is back for more after finishing T-3 at the 2012 Annika Invitational. Ramsey, No. 4 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, is a three-time Rolex Junior All-American. She finished in the top 5 at the 2013 South Atlantic Amateur and the Harder Hall Women’s Invitational. She was the runner-up at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links.
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Casey Danielson, Osceola, Wis. (2013)
As the highest Golfweek-ranked player this week, she has to be among the top contenders. Danielson, No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, has been quiet since her quarterfinal exit at the Polo Junior Golf Classic. But like her competitor, Ramsey, she finished in the top 10 of last year’s Invitational and is looking to capture her first AJGA Invitational win. She had five top-10 AJGA finishes in 2012.