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Anne Chen of Sugar Land to Compete for a Dream Spot in LPGA’s First Major at the ANA Inspiration

Photo from @annevchen

All Nippon Airways (ANA) supports local junior golf in 11 cities in honor of ANA Gateway City Qualifiers for the ANA Junior Inspiration

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2019) – The ANA Junior Inspiration and the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) today announced Anne Chen of Sugar Land, Texas, and Clements High School as the 2019 Houston Gateway City Qualifier. In her honor, ANA’s Gateway City Grant has made a financial contribution to support the Houston Golf Association.

The ANA Junior Inspiration, a partnership between the AJGA and All Nippon Airways (ANA) – Japan’s largest 5-star airline, will be held March 28-31, 2019, at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Chen, along with 47 other top-ranked junior girls from around the world earned entry into the ANA Junior Inspiration, an official AJGA Invitational.

The winner of the ANA Junior Inspiration will receive an invitation for the final amateur exemption in the ANA Inspiration – the first LPGA major tournament of the year.

Junior golfers, such as Chen, qualified through the “ANA Priority Mileage” point system, which is based on the Rolex AJGA Rankings, with 11 spots given to the top qualifiers in ANA’s gateway cities of Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Vancouver and Washington D.C.

The field will be tested for 36 holes on the Pete Dye Challenge Course before playing the final round on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course with LPGA legends. During the final round, each pairings group will feature one LPGA legend and two juniors. Juniors will compete for the stroke play title and participate in a fun competition among pairings groups in a Best Ball format with the legends.

In 2018 Chen was the 2018 Rolex Junior All-American and won the 2018 AJGA Hunter Mahan event in Texas. Thought out her career, Chen has earned seven top-five AJGA finishes as well as placing second in Texas Region 1 – 6A Texas High School golf. This will be the junior’s second appearance at ANA Junior Inspiration.

After qualifying as a representative of one of ANA’s gateway cities, each qualifier chose a local golf association in their area to receive a $5,000 grant from the ANA Junior Inspiration to support the growth and development of junior golf. Chen selected the Houston Golf Association.

“I chose the Houston Golf Association because I grew up playing in their local tournaments and it was a great environment to develop my golf game. I was so fortunate to compete with the best juniors in the area” said Chen. “Without the HGA, I wouldn’t have developed my golf game into what it is now. I’m looking forward to playing on the two amazing courses for the ANA Junior Inspiration and getting to catch up with the some of the amazing juniors in the world soon.”

Since the Gateway City Grant program began in 2017, the ANA Junior Inspiration has donated $165,000 to local golf associations throughout the country.

“Playing in the ANA Junior Inspiration is an incredible opportunity for the top female junior golfers in the world,” said AJGA Executive Director Stephen Hamblin. “The AJGA is proud to continue its partnership with ANA to create a truly unique week that showcases the past, present and future of women’s golf. To compete for a major opportunity as a teenager, while also receiving mentorship from an LPGA Legend and impacting the next generation of girls, truly creates a legacy.”

“We are thrilled to welcome 48 young golfers, including 11 from our North American gateways, to the 2019 ANA Junior Inspiration. As the title sponsor of the ANA Inspiration and official airline of the LPGA, we’re proud to inspire young golfers and hold the first major of the golf season,” said Hideki Kunugi, Senior Vice President of the Americas, ANA. “As Japan’s largest airline, we are in the business of connecting people from around the world so we can’t wait to welcome this group of international players and propel their passion for golf over 54 holes. For ANA it is vital that our sponsorship leaves a lasting legacy and inspires the players to reach for their dreams in golf and beyond.”

About the ANA Inspiration

The ANA Inspiration is golf’s first major and one of the LPGA Tour’s most prestigious events. Previously known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the tournament was founded in 1972 by David Foster and Dinah Shore and earned the designation as a major championship in 1983. Contested at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., since its inception, the ANA Inspiration holds the distinction of being the second oldest golf tournament continuously held at the same course. For many, the event is most distinguished by one of golf’s most beloved traditions: the champion’s leap into Poppie’s Pond, located adjacent to the 18th green. In 1988, the first champion’s leap into Poppie’s Pond was taken by Amy Alcott, and since has become one of the most anticipated and memorable traditions in golf. For more information on the ANA Inspiration, please visit ANAinspiration.com or call 760-834-8872. On social media, visit facebook.com/ANAinspiration, twitter.com/ANAinspiration or instagram.com/ANAinspiration.

About the American Junior Golf Association

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 AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-19) of more than 7,200 members from 50 states and 60 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.

TaylorMade and adidas are the AJGA’s National Sponsors, supporting the AJGA for more than 25 years. TaylorMade has served as the Official Ball of the AJGA since 2016. adidas has been the Official Apparel and Footwear of the AJGA since 2017. Rolex, in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 900 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Anna Nordqvist, Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson.

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