Mathilde Claisse leads early at ANNIKA Invitational
French native Mathilde Claisse is the first round leader <br>(AJGA Photo)
French native Mathilde Claisse is the first round leader
(AJGA Photo)

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL (January 13, 2018) - Mathilde Claisse of Poissy, France, opened the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex with a 3-under-par 69 and leads by one.

The 10th ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex boasts a field featuring the best female junior golfers from around the world. The 72-player field includes 17 of the top-25 girls in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and six of the top 10. The champion will receive a Symetra Tour exemption into the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in March.

Claisse, who started on No. 10, carded a birdie on the par-3 15th and made the turn at even-par 36. The University of South Carolina verbal commit carded three birdies on the back nine to post a 3-under-par 33. The high school junior posted a 2-1-0 record in 2017 as a member of the European PING Junior Solheim Cup Team.

Gina Kim of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is in second after posting a 2-under-par 70. Kim carded two birdies, both of which came on par-5s, on her bogey-free round. The 2017 Rolex Junior All-American finished runner-up in consecutive starts at the 2017 AJGA Girls Championship and the 2017 PING Invitational. Kim signed a National Letter of Intent with Duke University.

Frida Kinhult of Fiskebackskil, Sweden, is in third after carding a 1-under-par 71. Kinhult, who started on the back nine, carded back-to-back birdies on the par-4 No. 14 and the par-3 No. 15 to make the turn at 2-under-par 34. The Florida State University commit reached the quarterfinals at the 2016 Polo Golf Junior Classic.

Sabrina Iqbal of San Jose, California; Linn Grant of Viken, Sweden; Yujeong Son of Norman, Oklahoma; Yealimi Noh of Concord, California; Kanyanat Saithip of Bradenton, Florida; and Bohyun Park of Farmers Branch, Texas, are T4 at even-par 72.

The second round will take place Sunday, January 14, on Nos. 1 and 10 from 8:15 a.m. to 10:05 a.m.

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Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the ANNIKA Invitational is a 54-hole stroke play competition featuring 72 girls, ages 14-18.

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