The LPGA’s No. 1 golfer and reigning ANA Inspiration champion, Lydia Ko, took time during her off-week to surprise three top AJGA golfers in Los Angeles to officially launch the 2017 ANA Inspiration – the opening LPGA major championship of the season, held at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., March 27 – April 2, 2017.
On International Women’s Day, Ko visited Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. to surprise the three standout players – Elizabeth Wang from San Marino, Calif. (San Marino High School), Alyaa Abdulghany from Newport Beach, Calif. (Corona Del Mar High School) and Karah Sanford from Escondido, Calif. (Classical Academy High School) – who will compete in the ANA Junior Inspiration later this month for a chance to earn the final starting spot in the ANA Inspiration.
“The ANA Inspiration is one of my favorite tournaments and to have the chance to join ANA to play a part in the inspired journeys of three of the ANA Junior Inspiration qualifiers was an honor for me,” said Lydia Ko. “Jumping into Poppie’s Pond and putting on the ANA Inspiration Champion’s Robe is one of the most memorable moments of my career and I hope my success is an inspiration for the future of the game and I look forward to competing with these talented junior golfers for years to come.”
The juniors have earned entry into the newly upgraded and expanded ANA Junior Inspiration tournament, an official American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Invitational. The 54-hole tournament will run from March 23-26, 2017 and will be hosted at the same country club venue as the iconic LPGA major tournament. The 40 junior qualifiers will be paired with LPGA Legends during the final round on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course. The 20 person Legend field will be comprised of past ANA Inspiration Champions and Major winners.
Wang, Abdulghany and Sanford were ecstatic to meet the reigning ANA Inspiration champion and the world’s no. 1 player as she joined the trio for a Big Break-style challenge on the driving range and have the chance to chat with her about her game and what inspires her on and off the golf course.