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Golf - 08. September 2011.

England’s Charlotte Thomas wins Annika Invitational in China

England’s Charlotte Thomas came from four strokes behind to win the inaugural Annika Invitational at Mission Hills, China. She was six-under par for the last round, 10-under for the 54-hole event – and won by a shot.

Charlotte’s superb final round of 66 meant she caught and passed the first and second round leader, Ru Qing Guan of China.

Guan, who is only 11 years old, was the clear favourite to win after scoring eight-under over the first two days of the tournament. But her final round of one-under 71 left her a stroke behind.

Charlotte, meanwhile, made an eagle, five birdies and only one bogey in the final round. She was three-under on the way out and then had consecutive birdies on the 12th, 13th and 14th holes to catch Guan and tie for the lead.

The par 3 17th hole proved pivotal. Charlotte made a birdie while Guan three-putted the hole for bogey. With a two-shot lead on the final hole, Charlotte played conservatively and made a routine bogey for the victory.

Charlotte, 18, is based in Singapore but makes a regular summer golfing trip to England, where she was born. This year she tied fifth in the British strokeplay, had top 10 finishes in both the English girls’ and the English strokeplay championships and reached the matchplay stages of the British girls’ championship.

The Annika Invitational, played on the Annika course, was the first-ever all-girls junior golf tournament in Asia. The three top finishers all earned an invitation to the fourth annual Annika Invitational to be played January 13-16, 2012 at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Annika Sorenstam, the winner of 89 professional tournaments and 10 major championships during her 15-year career, was on-site the week hosting skills clinics, dinner receptions and other activities for the competitors.

(pictured right, courtesy of leaderboardphotography.com)
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