CINDY FENG SEIZES SECOND-ROUND LEAD AT ANNIKA INVITATIONAL
Simin Feng one back, Laetitia Beck trails by two
REUNION, Fla. Twelve-year-old Cindy Feng of Orlando, Fla., carded a 2-over-par 74 to move into the lead after Sunday's second round of the inaugural ANNIKA Invitational at Ginn Reunion Resort's Independence (Watson) Course.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the ANNIKA Invitational is a 54-hole stroke play event being played at Ginn Reunion Resort, home of the ANNIKA Academy. The girls-only field is playing the par-72 Independence (Watson) Course at 6,450 yards. The 60-player field features 17 Rolex Junior All-Americans and players from 17 states and 15 foreign countries.
Feng was the last player admitted to the field Friday, missing the practice round. Living a half-hour away, however, Feng often plays the Watson Course. I play here a lot, so it feels like my home course, she said.
Although Feng is the youngest player in the field, she has a near-perfect AJGA record. In her seven previous AJGA events, she has won six times five of the wins coming in the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series for players ages 12-15. Now playing in her first open-age division AJGA Invitational, Feng is capitalizing on the opportunity.
I was really excited that I was able to play in an Invitational, she said, adding that it was an especially great honor that it is Annika's first AJGA Invitational, as well.
Feng began the day two strokes off the lead, but quickly erased that deficit by making birdie on the first two holes. After that, it was a battle for the lead through the rest of the day. Feng appeared to take a commanding lead when she made a 40-foot birdie putt at No. 11.
I wasn't exactly thinking about making that putt, Feng said. It was downhill, down grain, breaking right to left. I just wanted to get it close to the hole and it went in.
Shortly thereafter, Simin Feng (no relation to Cindy) of Orlando, Fla., went birdie-eagle at 13 and 14 to take over the lead by one shot. Eventually, Simin and Cindy reached No. 18 tied for the lead. Simin, one group ahead, made bogey, before Cindy made a difficult up-and-down for par to end the day with a one-shot advantage with rounds of 72-74146.
Simin Feng enters the final round one shot off the lead at 72-75147, while Laetitia Beck of Caesarea, Israel, sits just two off the pace at 75-73148.
Tied for fourth place are Sarah Brown of Phillipsburg, N.J., and Luz Alejandra Cangrejo of Bogota, Colombia, at 5-over-par 149.
Final-round tee-times will run from 8-9:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Ginn Reunion Resort's Independence (Watson) Course. For more information about the ANNIKA Invitational, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (407) 662-0673.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf.
The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
The ANNIKA Foundation provides inspiration to children in need through critical financial, physical, and emotional support, and also helps aspiring junior golfers follow their dreams through scholarships, education, and new playing opportunities.