• World Golf Hall-of-Famer Annika Sorenstam, and CEO of Sotogrande S.A., Marc Topiol, already working on the 2020 event
• María Parra, local hero and centre of attention at Sotogrande
• More than €33,000 collected for the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC)
The organisers of the Ladies European Tour’s inaugural La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational hosted by ANNIKA are already looking ahead to 2020 following the success of this year’s event at La Reserva de Sotogrande.
“When you share a passion, everything is easier,” said Marc Topiol, CEO of Sotogrande S.A., when speaking about World Golf Hall-of-Famer and fellow driving force behind the event, about Annika Sorenstam.
The duo had three clear-cut goals for the tournament; to promote women’s golf, support the local community and make the event an iconic stop in the Ladies European Tour international schedule. It proved to be a resounding success.
“It’s been a great experience for La Reserva and Sotogrande at large,” said Topiol. “I need to thank our team for their dedication and support in presenting a course in magnificent condition and a family atmosphere throughout the week.
“The pro ladies were the stars of the week and represented women’s golf perfectly; what a pleasure it has been for us to support the LET with this new event.”
Sorenstam, 10-time major winner and one of the best female golfers in the history of the game, was the star in a week full of events.
“We are first in many areas. This is who we are, so naturally having Annika with us was always a dream we had,” continued Topiol. “Regarding the future we have started working together to develop the second edition. A lot will evolve to make this week an even more enjoyable one for the pro golfers, our guests and the community.
The inaugural staging of the tournament met all its goals and was “well beyond what we were expecting,” said Topiol. “The sports side was great, with players enjoying the course and the facilities offered at La Reserva de Sotogrande. From a business standpoint, the TV coverage was phenomenal and presented who we are and why we do what we do.”
Sorenstam’s involvement through her Foundation will be again a staple in the event going forward, and the winner of the Annika Invitational Europe – a tournament for the best European amateur junior girls – will play at the next La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational.
Local player María Parra, who fought for the title won by Céline Herbin at La Reserva, was one of the 25 players that participated during their amateur years in events promoted by the ANNIKA Foundation.
“Annika’s involvement is fascinating and, without a doubt, a great attraction for a lot of players,” said Parra. “When I finished my last round, she told me she remembered me from her tournament and that I should keep working because I have a bright future ahead of me. After that, she Instagrammed a picture of me. I was thrilled!”
Parra was also quick to praise the course and the tournament in general. “I had played La Reserva a few times and the course is always good, but this time it was amazing,” she said. “Regarding the event organisation, it couldn’t have been better. 11 out of 10 for me!
Parra, a Guadiaro local, was one of the stars of the week thanks to her game (she tied with Carmen Alonso as the best Spaniard) and to all the enthusiastic people that followed her around during the four rounds. Her neighbours, relatives and friends didn’t miss a shot.
“It’s been one of the best feelings I’ve had since I went pro,” she commented. “I love playing at home and, especially, in front of the people of my little town. I’m so thankful for having so many of them supporting me.”
Event organisers also thanked everyone who contributed with their donations to the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC). More than €33,000 was collected for this non-profit state-level organisation that spearheads the Spanish society’s effort to reduce the impact caused by cancer.
La Reserva de Sotogrande Invitational hosted by ANNIKA is sponsored by Sotogrande SA, the founding entity of Sotogrande, and organized by Deporte & Business and the Ladies European Tour. The event was broadcasted Around the world and Spanish fans could enjoy it through Movistar Golf, Teledeporte y Andalucía TV.