DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For a third consecutive year, the Symetra Tour and American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) are partnering to provide select AJGA Invitational champions with exemptions into Symetra Tour events.
Winners of the 2019 ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex, Buick Shanshan Feng Girls Invitational and KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational will qualify for a Symetra Tour exemption to various tournaments. It is the second straight year that three AJGA Invitational champions will compete in an event on the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour, as the 2017 agreement awarded two exemptions.
“We are once again excited to partner with the AJGA on Invitational events hosted by our LPGA Tour members,” said Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer for the Symetra Tour. “Many current and former Symetra Tour professionals started their path to the LPGA Tour on the AJGA. We look forward to welcoming some of the AJGA’s best to three different Symetra Tour events.”
From Jan. 18-21, the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex will be contested on the Slammer & Squire Course at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. The top finisher earns a spot in the 11th annual Florida’s Natural Charity Classic at the Country Club of Winter Haven in Winter Haven, Fla. from March 15-17.
“Providing an exemption to a Symetra Tour event for the winner of the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex helps elevate the event to a new level,” said World Golf Hall of Famer and tournament host Annika. “The partners we have brought on over the Invitational’s 11-year history have made it truly special, and we are thankful to have the Symetra Tour as one of them.”
Meanwhile, the second edition of the Buick Shanshan Feng Girls Invitational runs from Feb. 15-18 in Somis, Calif. at The Saticoy Club. The reward for its victor is a place in the field for the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Beaumont, Calif., from March 29-31.
The final AJGA event for the 2019 partnership is the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational from June 24-27 in Johnson, Ark., at the Blessings Golf Club. This year, the champion receives an invitation to compete at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship in Battle Creek, Mich. from Aug. 16-18 at Battle Creek Country Club.
“The AJGA is very excited to be able to offer these exemptions to some of our strongest tournament fields,” said Jason Etzen, the Chief Business Officer for the AJGA. “We are proud to partner with the Symetra Tour to help elevate these tournaments to a new level and provide more exposure and experience for these junior golfers.”
In 2018, a total of 15 Symetra Tour champions were AJGA alumnae including graduates Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland), Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois), Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China), Kendall Dye (Edmond, Oklahoma) and Linnea Ström (Hovas, Sweden).
Of the five AJGA Invitational champions in the first two years through the partnership, four have utilized their Symetra Tour exemption with three making the cut at their respective event. From that group, Angelina Ye (Bradenton, Florida) owns the best finish of tied for seventh at the 2017 Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.