ANNIKA Inv.: Bethany Wu defends title
Bethany Wu
Bethany Wu
REUNION, Fla. (Jan. 20, 2014) — Bethany Wu of Diamond Bar, Calif., led the last six rounds of the ANNIKA Invitational to become the first champion in history to win twice. The defending champion posted a final-round 1-under-par 71 to finish the tournament at 9-under-par 207 at Reunion Resort.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the ANNIKA Invitational was a 54-hole stroke play competition featuring 72 girls, ages 14-18, from 15 foreign countries, 17 states and Puerto Rico. The par-72 Watson Course at Reunion Resort played 6,347 yards.

Wu started the day with a five-stroke lead which shrunk to one after she went 3-over par through the first five holes. She birdied the 520-yard, par-5 No. 8, her first of the day then made par over the next five holes.

“I got off to a shaky start,” Wu said. “I was just nervous. Once I shook it off, I started making pars again which calmed me down and I was able to get back.”

The momentum returned as she birdied Nos. 14 through 16, stretching her lead to seven strokes. While was one shot shy of her 2013 tournament-record 10-under-par, she made history once again as the first repeat winner of the event and set the largest winning margin of eight strokes.

“It’s unbelievable,” Wu. “It honestly feels like déjà vu. My goal was just to win one AJGA Invitational, so to win another one, especially this one is incredible.”

In a three-way tie for second were Ziyi Wang and Japan’s Yuting Shi, both of Beijing, China, and Megan Khang of Rockland, Mass. The trio finished the tournament at 1-under-par 215.

The low round of the day went to Bailey Tardy of Norcross, Ga., who jumped 24 spots after firing a 5-under-par 67. She opened with a birdie and carded two more birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 to make the turn at 3-under-par. The highlight of her round came when she eagled the 480-yard, par-5 No. 14. After she hit driver off the tee, she used her hybrid from 180 yards out to stick it to five feet to eagle.

 “I didn’t play too well the past two days,” Tardy said. “But today, my putts fell. I actually used Annika’s advice today when my ball landed in a divot on No. 17.”

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