By RENALDO DORSETT
TWO of the Bahamas’ elite junior golfers are participating in a top regional tournament aimed at developing the game among young ladies.
Haylie Turnquest and Sophie Anand are representing the Bahamas at the ANNIKA Invitational, Latin America, hosted at the Hurlingham Club in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Turnquest finished day one tied at No.19 in the field with an opening round of 80, +9 over par.Anand is ranked at No.49 after an opening +22 over par, 93.
Local Argentinian Elabelen Anacona leads the field as the only golfer under par at -2, 69.
The event is co-hosted by Annika Sorenstam’s ANNIKA Foundation and Asociacion Argentina de Golf (AAG). It is also sponsored by The R&A. The event is designed to be the premier event for junior girls (ages 12-16) in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Both golfers continue a stellar 16 season which also saw them represent the Bahamas at the Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships among other events.
Over the years, Turnquest has had multiple wins as well as player of the year awards throughout South Florida.
She finished first in the Girls 14-15 Bahamas Junior National Championships. She lists that one of her immediate career goals is to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
Anand, after just two years in the sport, has achieved national team recognition and is the reigning junior girls club champion at Albany Golf Club. She was also a part of this year’s winning pro-amateur team at the LPGA Bahamas Pure Silk Classic.
She recently finished in second place at her latest tournament on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour, earned runner-up honours in the Girls’ Under 13 HJGC’s Tampa Bay Junior Challenge and at the BGF’s National Junior Championships.
Sixty of the region’s leading players, representing 20 countries, are competing at the ANNIKA Invitational for World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) points, with the winner receiving an exemption into the 2017 South American Amateur Championship in Lima, Peru.
In addition, the top three finishers will earn an invitation to the 2017 ANNIKA Invitational USA in Orlando, Florida.
“I’m honoured to partner with The R&A to bring a world-class junior golf event to Latin America,” says Annika, who began her ANNIKA Foundation upon stepping away from the LPGA in 2008.
“With golf’s incredible showing at the Olympic Games earlier this year in Brazil, the time is right to bring an ANNIKA Invitational to this part of the world.”
Sorenstam will be intimately involved and onsite for the championship. Some scheduled activities are a clinic for competitors during which she’ll share her “Winning Approach” philosophy, a gala dinner and an awards presentation.