The season’s first major is nearly here; no not the Masters, it is the ANA Inspiration, the first of five LPGA Tour majors.
This tournament is a yearly fan favorite and always draws a good crowd. S.Y. Ryu is this year’s defending champion, defeating Lexi Thompson in a controversial playoff in 2017. Thompson held a two-stroke lead on the twelfth hole in the final round of last year’s event. However, she was assessed a four-stroke penalty for a rules infraction from the previous day; two for the infraction, two for signing an incorrect scorecard. Thompson had to shoot two-under (-2) on her six remaining holes to force a playoff. This is regarded as one of the worst rulings in a major championship and rules have since been changed.
This year’s event is sure to be exciting, as so many players are playing well this season. Jin Young Ko is currently leading the Race to the CME Globe standings, Michelle Wie is playing her best golf we have seen in a few years. Other familiar names such as Brittany Lincicome, Jessica Korda, and Aryia Jutanugarn round out the top five. The current state of the LPGA is very strong, as any player can win just about any tournament. I see no reason to believe anything different about this week.
The Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club measures a total of 6,769 for the ANA Inspiration. It tends to favor the long hitters, hence why Lexi Thompson has had immense success here. Short hitters do not tend to have success here due to its length and requirements to sometimes carry long hazards. My pick is Michelle Wie; she is playing some of her best golf ever and this course suits her well. Wie will capture her second career LPGA major this Sunday and take the historic jump into “Poppie’s Pond”
The tournament runs from Thursday, March 29-April and will be broadcast on the Golf Channel.