The LPGA is hosting its second major championship of the season with the ANA Inspiration, which begins Thursday at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. The defending champion is Jin Young Ko, but the major winner won’t be in the Southern California desert to defend her title.
Ko chose to stay in her home country of South Korea because of concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. She issued a statement about not playing in the major championship.
“The ANA Inspiration will be forever dear to me as my very first LPGA major championship,” Ko said. “Choosing to skip this year’s ANA was one of the most difficult decisions of my entire life. All year I had been looking forward to reliving so many special memories at Rancho Mirage, and the opportunity to jump into Poppie’s Pond again.”
Odds to Win ANA Inspiration
|Sei Young Kim||14/1|
|Brooke M Henderson||35/1|
|Sung Hyun Park||35/1|
There are seven former past champions in the field, including favorite Inbee Park, who won this event in 2013. Park seems to be peaking at the right time. She finished fourth at the AIG Women’s Open, the tour’s first major of the season, and was tied for seventh at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship two weeks ago. Park has lost some length off the tee in recent years, but is eighth in driving accuracy, which is crucial for this golf course.
So who else has a chance to win the ANA Inspiration? We take a look at some of those who might fare well in the desert, and others who may come up dry.
Golfers to Consider
Nelly Korda (16/1)
Korda possesses length off the tee (ninth) and decent accuracy (57th), and could make a strong showing at the ANA Inspiration. In addition, the 22-year-old finished tied for 14th at the AIG Women’s Open, and tied for third at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. The only concern is her tie for 52nd at last year’s ANA Inspiration.
Minjee Lee (11/1)
Lee finished third at the AIG Women’s Open, and was tied for 28th at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. She also has three other top-10 finishes this season.
At last year’s ANA Inspiration, Lee finished tied for 21st. She is ninth in scoring average in 2020.
Golfers to Avoid
Danielle Kang (11/1)
Kang is a top pick with oddsmakers, but she might struggle at the ANA Inspiration. She won in July and August, but has cooled considerably since then. Kang was tied for 32nd at the AIG Women’s Open, and tied for 49th at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. She finished sixth at Mission Hills Country Club in 2019, but the odds are too low to take a chance on her.
Sung Hyun Park (35/1)
The No. 4 ranked player in the world is making her return to competitive golf for the first time since the 2019 CME Group Tour Championship when she withdrew with a shoulder injury. Park said she isn’t expecting much this week, and if she doesn’t think she can win, that’s good enough for us to not bet on her.