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Meja Ortengren (above) at No. 1 during her Friday practice round.

Spring is here, and ANWA’s youngest are ready to bloom

A budding youth revolution of an already young field is in the making at ANWA
By Jordan Perez

AUGUSTA, Ga — Among the 30 players who made the cut at the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur, a stunning nine of them are under the age of 18. The exclusive club: Avani Prashanth (16), Anna Davis (16), Liqi Zeng (15), Amalie Leth-Nissen (17), Avery Zweig (15), Meja Ortengren (17), Alexa Pano (17), Shinsil Bang (17) and Xiaowen Yin (17).

Most are first-timers, with Pano being the only player to have previously played the event. Despite sitting inside the top ten, just three shots off of the lead, Pano is tempering her expectations. “I think every group going out on that golf course has a chance,” she says. “This is Augusta National and I think anything can happen.”

Meanwhile, the rest are blooming like the azaleas. Zweig, the youngest player in this year’s field, made sure to make the most out of her practice round–which included her best impression of Masters history. “I attempted Tiger’s chip on 16,” she says. “I was working on stuff and trying to hit the most fun shots I could.” 

Avery Zweig (above) tried her hand at recreating memories older than her.

Amalie Leth-Nissen is looking to ride the momentum of having won the prestigious Sage Valley Junior Invitational title two weeks ago. She is not fazed by competing with those her senior. “I just think there’s no pressure, and I have to play my own game,” Leth-Nissen said.

Davis tied for the lead during a difficult first round with a round of 1-under, appearing unfazed on Champions Retreat’s fast, firm greens. She’s aware of how difficult Augusta National will play if the wind comes in, as forecasted, but chooses to ignore the nerves. “It sets up perfectly for my game,” Davis said. “I’m excited to see what happens tomorrow.”

Half of these precocious teens (Prashanth, Pano, Leth-Nissen, and Ortengren) have entrusted their fathers to carry their bags during the final round, a sweet, sentimental end to a long week. With these old dudes riding shotgun, the youth movement is getting louder at ANWA. Saturday’s final round could become a takeover with this talented bunch.

Anna Davis (above) rode high after her early tournament lead.

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