by Coachella Valley | March 23, 2015 2:30 pm
Meet the 2015 ANA Inspiration Amateur Sponsor Invitations
In keeping with the tradition of the LPGA’s first major championship, the 2015 ANA Inspiration awards seven amateur sponsor invitations to top juniors. Only six of the exemptions will be claimed this season, though, as 2014 U.S. Amateur Champion Kristen Gillman is unable to play in the tournament.
The tournament today announced five of the six remaining exemptions, with the final invitation given to the winner of the 2015 ANA Inspiration Champions Junior Challenge to be played on Monday, March 30. The amateurs are listed below alphabetically.
Celine Boutier: Currently the No. 1 player on the Women’s World Amateur Golf Rankings, Boutier, 21, is a member of the 2014 NCAA Champion Duke University women’s golf team. The 2014 WGCA National Player of the Year and 2014 ACC Player of the Year, Boutier is the winner of three NCAA tournaments and multiple international amateur events. In 2014, on a sponsor’s exemption, she tied for 29th at the LPGA’s fifth major, the Evian Championship. She is the top-ranked French Ladies amateur and No. 1 on the Ladies European Amateur Ranking (LEAR). Boutier counts 2003 Kraft Nabisco Champion Patricia Meunier-Lebouc among her friends and mentors.
Nelly Korda: The 2015 Harder Hall Invitational champion, Korda, 16, is the younger sister of LPGA star Jessica Korda. She returns to the ANA Inspiration after her amateur debut at the 2014 tournament. An accomplished junior player who trains at IMG Academy, Korda made the cut at the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club as a 14-year-old and won the 2014 Kathy Whitworth Invitational. This year, she was runner up at the 2015 South Atlantic Amateur (Sally). Her father, Petr, won the 1998 Australian Open (tennis).
Andrea Lee: The reigning Rolex Junior Player of the Year, Lee, 16, attends Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California. A verbal commit to Stanford University, Lee is currently the No. 1 female on the Polo Golf Rankings with two AJGA victories to her credit including the 2014 Yani Tseng Invitational and the 2014 Rolex Tournament of Champions, where she earned an eight-stroke win. A four-time AJGA Rolex All-American, Lee made the cut at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, finishing T69. She was also a member of the victorious 2013 U.S. PING Junior Solheim Cup Team, finishing with a 2-1-0 record. She also helped the 2014 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team to victory. A first degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, Lee has made the Academic Honor Roll in four consecutive years.
Mika Liu: A former No. 1 player on the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com World Amateur Rankings, Liu, 16, attends IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. A native of Beverly Hills, California with citizenship in the U.S., Japan and Taiwan, her amateur resume includes victories at the 2014 Women’s Western Amateur, the 2014 Southern Women’s Amateur and the 2014 World Amateur Junior Championship, where she was a member of the victorious Team USA. Liu was also a member of the gold medal-winning Team USA at the LPGA’s Evian Junior Masters in 2012 (where she won individual gold) and 2013. A two-time AJGA Rolex All-American, Liu has two brothers, Seiji and Seiya, who play on the Harvard University golf team and a sister, Marika, who captains the Yale University golf team.
Bethany Wu: The medalist at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Stroke Play, Wu, 18, is a senior at Diamond Bar High School. She is a two-time winner of the ANNIKA Inviational (2013-14) who has played on both the 2013 PING Junior Solheim Cup Team and 2014 Junior Ryder Cup Team. A verbal commit to UCLA, Wu was the runner-up at the 2014 Junior PGA Championship and Yani Tseng Invitational.
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 www.ANAInspiration.com or call 760-324-4546. On social media, go to https://www.facebook.com/ANAinspiration, www.twitter.com/ANAinspiration or @ANAinspiration on Instagram.
Enjoy the CoachellaValley.com photo gallery from last years tournament.
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