Just a week after claiming the Junior Heritage title by two shots over Alexis Thompson (who is absent from the field this week), Laetitia Beck is back at the top of the leaderboard at the AJGA’s Annika Invitational. In frigid temperatures Saturday, Beck shot a 4-under 68 at Reunion Resort’s Independence Course near Orlando, Fla., and leads Doris Chen by one shot.
Beck, ranked No. 7 in Golfweek’s Junior Rankings, had five birdies and a bogey during the opening round of the AJGA’s first invitational in 2010. The 18-year-old, who will play for Duke in the fall, is chasing her first invitational title. She finished T-4 at this event last year.
“Every tournament is special,” Beck said. “I’m trying to win every single time I’m there. I don’t try to put pressure on myself, I know it’s a big event, there are a lot of girls and Annika, but I’m just trying to play my game and trying to win.”
Doris Chen, a semifinalist at the U.S. Girls’ Junior in 2009, was close behind after a 3-under 69. Chen bogeyed the 18th to fall out of a share of the lead.
Shannon Aubert, who has six top-10 finishes in AJGA events, was at 1-under 71 and in third by herself. A group of three players shared the fourth spot at 1-over 73 including Golfweek’s second-ranked junior Victoria Tanco, third-ranked Suzie Lee and Tiffany Lim.
Defending champion Simin Feng – who played in the LPGA’s Hana Bank Kolon Championship in the same pairing as Lorena Ochoa at the end of October – was another shot back at 2-over 74 and in a four-way tie for seventh.
–The AJGA contributed to this report.