The Royal Golf Club Makes History; Hosts ANNIKA Intercollegiate Tournament
Tournament Attracted Many of the Top Collegiate Women’s Golfers in the U.S.
The Royal Golf Club made history in September when it hosted its first major tournament, which brought together premiere collegiate teams from around the country for a tournament hosted by the ANNIKA Foundation, a nonprofit foundation founded by legendary pro golfer Annika Sörenstam.
Going into its fifth year, The ANNIKA Intercollegiate, sponsored by 3M, brought together twelve of the top women’s collegiate golf teams in the United States for three days of intense competition.
Organized by Annika Sörenstam, an eight-time LPGA player of the year, who designed the Queen’s Nine of the Royal Golf Club, the ANNIKA Foundation hosts a series of international golf tournaments on five different continents, all with the intent of introducing young people to golfing.
ANNIKA foundation tournaments have also proven to be a fantastic opportunity to witness the future stars of the sport. More than 30 collegiate women’s players from ANNIKA events have gone on to earn their LPGA cards and compete at the highest level of women’s professional golf.
No doubt bringing the ANNIKA Intercollegiate to a course that she helped design with Arnold Palmer, considered the King of professional golfing, was a very special moment for Sörenstam as well as the Royal Golf Club.
While the history of the event was something at which to marvel, the field of talent was just as impressive. Among the teams gathered at the Royal Golf Club, ten were ranked in the top 12 in the nation including every team in the top six entering that week with the University of Minnesota acting as host for the tournament.
Free and open to the public, the crowd gathered witnessed an incredible display of talent while the players dealt with storm and lightning delays that forced the opening round to be postponed until the following morning.
In a closely contested battle, Duke University, ranked No. 4, leapt out to an early lead with a first round score of 279 before the teams were forced to take cover in the clubhouse as the weather quickly changed from a spectacular fall day to thunderstorms.
Ultimately, No. 1 University of Alabama managed to battle through the elements and took away the championship with a team score of 836 with UCLA and the University of Southern California placing second and third respectively.
The Crimson Tide, last year’s NCAA runner-up, finished two strokes ahead of UCLA after coming into the final round two strokes back. No. 2 ranked Arkansas, last year’s ANNIKA Intercollegiate Invitational champion, ended the tournament in sixth place, while Duke University finished in fifth place. The University of Minnesota placed 12th.
Individually, UCLA’s Patty Tavatanakit, a sophomore for the Bruins, shot a 63 during her final round that was good enough both to clinch the individual championship and set the Royal Golf Club course record.
Alabama junior Jiwon Jeon, who tied for sixth at 209, noted to the Pioneer Press: “The course [the Royal Golf Club] was great. I don’t really get to play the north part of the country. It’s very different to the south golf courses.”
For a full list of scores and results from the tournament, click here.
While this was the first year the event has been held at the Royal Golf Club, Annika Sörenstam is excited about bringing the event back to the Royal Golf Club in the future.
“We want to build some tradition. We want to continue to support the young ladies,” Sörenstam told the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. “It takes a little while when you start something, but this is our fifth year, we’ve got great winners, and to come here we’d love to start a long-term relationship.”