Annika presented Piyapattra with a check for $5,000 at Alaqua Country Club
LONGWOOD, FLORIDA, October 11, 2016 - The Symetra Tour, Road to the LPGA, announced on Tuesday that Michelle Piyapattra (Eastvale, Calif.) is the recipient of the 2016 ANNIKA Academy Elite Athlete Award, given annually to the Symetra Tour player that best demonstrates the same holistic “winning approach” philosophy, which Sorenstam applied to her game during competition.
“We would like to congratulate Michelle for winning our last ANNIKA Academy ELITE Athlete Award,” Annika said. “She is a smart young lady who played very well this year and shared our “Winning Approach” by attending our educational sessions. We wish her all the best.”
Piyapattra, a second-year professional, attended each of the ANNIKA Academy development sessions and had a strong season on the course. She currently ranks 38th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list heading into the Symetra Tour Championship presented by IOA this week at Alaqua Country Club.
Piyapattra has two top 10 finishes this year and five top 25’s.
“I was so excited when I heard that I won the award, I learned so much from the development sessions and I think it really helps you progress as a player,” said Piyapattra. “To win the award from Annika is really special because I’ve always looked up to Annika as a player and remember playing in her invitational as a junior and meeting her then. It is just overall a very special honor.”
Piyapattra has shown tremendous improvement from her rookie season in 2015 when she finished 59th on the money list.
Before turning professional, Piyapattra excelled both on and off the course at Columbia University. She was a three-time All-Ivy League performer and was the 2011-12 Ivy League Player of the Year.
Annika, who won 72 times during her hall-of-fame career on the LPGA Tour, presented Piyapattra with a check for $5,000 on the 18th green at Alaqua Country Club before her Tuesday practice round.
Casey Grice won the inaugural award in 2014 and Brittany Benvenuto won in 2015. Grice played on the LPGA Tour in 2016 while Benvenuto ranks 17th on the money list and has a chance to earn her Tour card this week.
Piyapattra and 107 other Symetra Tour professionals begin the Symetra Tour Championship on Thursday, October 13. Ten LPGA Tour cards will be handed out following the final putt on Sunday, October 16.