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March 13, 2018

Newcomer of the Year

The ANA Junior Inspiration hosted by Mission Hills Country Club has been named the AJGA’s 2017 Newcomer of the Year.

Each year, the AJGA presents awards to the tournaments with the best individual hospitality, Junior-Am Fundraising Tournament, charitable giving and volunteer base. Awards are also given to the events with engaged media and social media participation. Finally, the AJGA recognizes the year’s most outstanding golf professional, superintendent and general manager, as well as the most improved event, best new event, best Junior Golf Hub Preview Series tournament, best ACDS Junior All-Star Series tournament, best Invitational and overall tournament of the year. Tournament awards for the 2017 season will be presented on-site at 2018 tournaments.

“As Japan’s leading airline and title sponsor of the ANA Inspiration, ANA is dedicated to inspiring young golfers from the U.S. and around the world as we continue to find unique ways to grow the ANA Junior Inspiration and provide more opportunities for junior golfers,” said Mr. Hideki Kunugi, Senior Vice President of the Americas, ANA. “Since partnering with the AJGA in 2017, we’ve been able to collectively build a legacy that inspires these young players and the sport’s future stars. We look forward to the continued growth of the ANA Junior Inspiration in partnership with the AJGA for years to come.”

The ANA Junior Inspiration is an event unlike any other on the AJGA schedule. The tournament features the world’s top junior girls competing for an exemption into the LPGA’s first major of the year, the ANA Inspiration.

The ANA Junior Inspiration began in 2012 as a partnership between the ANA Inspiration and the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA), giving California junior golfers an opportunity to qualify into the major. In 2017, the ANA Junior Inspiration was expanded to an AJGA Invitational giving 40 girls from around the world, including All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) 11 North American Gateway Cities, an opportunity to compete at one of the LPGA’s most iconic venues.

During the tournament, players were tested for 36 holes on the Pete Dye Challenge Course before playing the final round on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course one day prior to the start of the ANA Inspiration. Players played the course just as the professionals would the following week. In the final round, juniors were paired with LPGA Legends such as Nancy Lopez, Betsy King, Donna Caponi and Pat Hurst. The juniors made memories and built relationships with some of the LPGA’s most-decorated players.

In addition to a playing opportunity, each Gateway City Qualifier for the ANA Junior Inspiration gave a state or local golf association that had impacted them a Gateway City Grant of $5,000. In total, the 2017 ANA Junior Inspiration gave back $55,000 to golf associations across North America.

After the ANA Junior Inspiration’s conclusion, the tournament field was invited to attend the ANA Inspiration Past Champions Dinner, the Inspiring Women in Sports Conference and the tournament rounds.

The ANA Junior Inspiration returns March 22-25 at Mission Hills Country Club.

See other 2017 Tournament Awards