Two Annikas Take Their Name to Heart July 25, 2017 | Augusta, Mo. By Lisa D. Mickey

Annika Cedo said that her father, Jose, "always knew that his daughter was going to play golf" when he named her after a legend. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

What’s in a name? If you are in golf and the name is Annika, it means a lot.

And it just so happens that a pair of Annikas – Annika Borrelli of Alamo, Calif., and Annika Cedo of Makati, Philippines – are in the field for this week’s U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Boone Valley Golf Club.

And yes, both were named Annika because of their families’ affinity for three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Annika Sorenstam of Sweden, who amassed 72 career wins and 207 career top-10 finishes during her World Golf Hall of Fame career.

David and Ann Borrelli were watching the telecast of the 1995 U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., when Sorenstam won for the first time in the United States. David, a competitive amateur golfer, suggested the name to his wife and by the time their daughter was born in 2000, Sorenstam was established as the best player in women’s golf.

Cedo’s father, Jose V. Cedo, was a touring professional on Asian golf tours who was likewise inspired when a daughter was born in 1998 to him and wife Cristina. Though not a golfer, Cristina was a fan of the LPGA superstar.

“My dad knew Annika was the No. 1 player in the world during that time and he also knew his daughter was going to play golf,” said Cedo, 18, with a laugh. “So that’s how it happened.”

Annika Borrelli called her father “a huge fan” of Sorenstam and when her mom was just beginning to play golf, “she always watched Annika on TV.” Along with the connection to the star golfer, the name is a variation of her mother’s name, Ann.

“We also got the golf connection going early,” said David Borrelli.

Both girls admit they get a lot of questions when people learn their first name.

“It’s usually other golfers who ask because they all know that she’s a legend,” said Borrelli, 17, a high school senior playing in her first USGA event. 

Annika Borrelli's father got the idea for her first name as he was watching the 1995 U.S. Women's Open. She was born in 2000. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

Added Cedo: “This name isn’t that common, so it’s quite special to be named after a very significant golfer. I think I’m very lucky.”

Is there any additional pressure to show up at a championship and be introduced as Annika?

“I don’t think so,” said Borrelli. “I’m me and I’m OK with that, and I think that being named after a legend is really cool.”

Cedo sees it another way.

“Yes, there’s quite a bit of pressure,” said Cedo, who plays college golf at Kansas University. “It’s a very high standard.”

Cedo and Borrelli were infants when Sorenstam was in the prime of her career. In 2000, the year Borrelli was born, Sorenstam won five times on Tour and earned the requisite 27 points to qualify for the LPGA’s Hall of Fame.

Borrelli was 8 and Cedo was 9 when Sorenstam retired in 2008, two years after her final U.S. Women’s Open victory, so how much do the amateurs know about the pro’s sparkling career?

“I actually know a lot about her and when I was in the third and fourth grade, I wrote school reports about her,” said Borrelli. “I’ve followed her on TV ever since I was really young and even now, I’ll watch celebrity tournaments on TV when she’s in them.”

“I don’t know a lot about her, but I know she has changed the game of golf for women,” said Cedo.

Cedo has never met her namesake, but said it “would be an honor” to meet the Swede.

Borrelli met Sorenstam several years ago when she attended a golf camp at The Annika Academy in Florida.

“She asked if I was really named after her and I told her ‘Yes, positively!’” said Borrelli.

Both families have enjoyed the public’s interest in the girls’ first name over the years.

“The good news is that Annika Sorenstam is such a legend in the game and such a great role model, and she was someone my daughter could look up to when she grew up and started playing golf,” added David Borrelli.

When the legendary pro was reached by email to ask how she felt about young amateurs named after her, she responded with the typical Sorenstam humility.

“It is great to see more young girls in the United States and other areas named Annika,” wrote Sorenstam. “Who's to say they are named after me? But I have had some parents tell me they named their daughters after me. That is an honor and always makes me smile.”

Lisa D. Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer who frequently contributes to USGA websites.

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