Rancho Mirage, California, February 26, 2016 – Hannah O’Sullivan, winner of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, headlines a group of amateurs who will compete in the 2016 ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills Country Club, March 28-April 3, 2016.
O’Sullivan earned an automatic invitation to the LPGA’s first major championship with her 3-and-2 victory over Sierra Brooks at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur at Portland Golf Club.
Last year, O’Sullivan also became the youngest winner in the history of the LPGA’s Symetra Tour with a victory at the Gateway Classic in her native Arizona. She also made the cut at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open (T53) and the 2015 Evian Championship (T50).
Five additional invitations have been extended to and accepted by a strong group of global amateurs who are detailed alphabetically below.
The final amateur invitation will be awarded to the winner of the ANA Junior Inspiration, to be contested on Monday, March 28.
“We are excited to once again welcome many of the world’s best female amateur golfers to one of the biggest stages in women’s golf,” said Gabe Codding, ANA Inspiration tournament director. “This year’s amateur invitees will follow in the footsteps of players like Lorena Ochoa, Lydia Ko, Yani Tseng and so many others who participated in the LPGA’s first major before turning professional.”
“The ANA Inspiration provides a great stage for these young athletes on their inspired journeys in golf and we are excited to welcome this diverse and talented group,” said Tadashi Matsushita, Vice President, Strategic Planning for ANA in the Americas. “As a company, we are dedicated to the future of women’s golf through our ANA Inspiration sponsorship and role as Official Airline of the LPGA, and these elite amateurs remind us that the future of the game is strong.”
MEET THE AMATEURS:
Sierra Brooks, Sorrento, Florida – Runner-up at the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, Brooks, 17, is the No. 4 ranked female amateur golfer in the world on the strength of victories at the 2014 AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic, 2015 AJGA Taylormade-Adidas Golf Junior and 2015 South Atlantic Women’s Amateur (SALLY). Brooks, a Central Florida native, went 3-0 for the victorious U.S. Team at the 2015 PING Junior Solheim Cup and 2-1 on the victorious 2014 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team.
Karen Chung, Livingston, New Jersey – A third-year member of the University of Southern California (USC) golf team, Chung, 20, earned All-American honors in 2014 and has two collegiate victories to her name. In team competitions, she went undefeated while representing the U.S. in the 2012 Junior Ryder Cup, represented America at the 2011 and 2013 PING Junior Solheim Cups, and competed for the East team four times from 2009-12 at the Wyndham Cup. As a junior, she won back-to-back AJGA Girls Championships in 2009-10, won the 2011 Thunderbird International Junior and was the runner-up at the 2008 USGA Junior Girls Championship.
Bronte Law, Stockport, England – A third-year member of the UCLA golf team, Law, 20, won her second consecutive English Women's Amateur Championship in July. In 2015, she was also named Pac-12 Conference Golfer of the Year, First Team WGCA All-America, All-Pac-12 and led the conference in stroke average. Currently the fifth ranked female amateur golfer in the world, Law has previous major championship experience finishing in a tie for 33rd at the 2012 RICOH Women’s British Open. She is a veteran of international team competitions having represented Europe in the Junior Solheim Cup and Junior Ryder Cup, as well as Great Britain & Ireland in the Curtis Cup.
Leona Maguire, Cavan, Ireland – Duke University sophomore Leona Maguire, 21, is currently ranked No. 1 on the Official World Amateur Golf Rankings and received the 2015 Mark H. McCormack Medal. Just 15 minutes younger than her twin sister, who’s also an accomplished golfer at Duke University, Leona won the 2015 ANNIKA Award as National Player of the Year, the WGCA National Freshman of the Year and the Golfweek National Player of the Year – closing the year with 10 top 10 placements and three victories. Last summer, she became the first ever woman from the Republic of Ireland to make the cut in a major (Evian Championship) and finished runner-up at the Ladies European Tour’s flagship event, the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters.
Albane Valenzuela, Geneva, Switzerland –Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela, 18, is currently ranked 12th on the Official World Amateur Golf Rankings and 5th in Europe, after a highly successful junior career that included victories at the 2015 Orange Bowl, Doral Public Junior Classic and the Spanish International Amateur Stroke play. The ANA Inspiration will be her second Major appearance, having played in the 2015 Evian Championship. She first played in a professional tournament at age 15 at the 2013 Dinard Ladies Open.