The race to win golf’s first major of the year and make the famous leap into Poppie’s Pond has never been tighter. This is the first of five majors on the LPGA Tour.
The 112-player field includes the top 25 players in the Rolex Women’s Golf Ranking, all players are competing for a $3 million prize and the legendary Dinah Shore Trophy.
In 2018, we witnessed the most dramatic win by Pernilla Lindberg. The Swede lifted her first professional title at the 2018 ANA Inspiration after a marathon eight-hole, two-day playoff with seven-time major winner Inbee Park. Since then she has not had a win.
The 32-year-old confessed about her struggle to cope with new-found fame following her maiden major win but has improved since then. She will be aiming to become the first woman since fellow Swede Annika Sorenstam to successfully defend the title.
Pernilla Lindberg will defend her title, against a strong field that will include several former champions and star players such as Sung Hyun Park, Ariya Jutanugarn and Minjee Lee.
Current world no.1 Sung Hyun Park and world no. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn will be looking to etch their names in Dinah Shore history books. Both two-time major winners already, Park and Jutanugarn have exchanged the number one spot on the Rolex Rankings on several occasions since last summer and is in their best form.
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However, Park is the most experienced player while coming to big tournaments. The 25-year-old South Korean will be looking to add a third major to her tally following wins at the 2017 US Open and 2018 PGA Championship. She also won month's HSBC Women's World Championship in Singapore and a share of second place at last weekend's Kia Classic.
Australian 22-year-old Minjee Lee world no.3 will be hoping to capture her first major title, while former winner Lydia Ko from New-Zealand will be looking to rediscover the form that made her perhaps the most successful teenager in the history of golf.
Japan's Nasa Hataoka is another strong contender after her win in last weekend's Kia Classic in Carlsbad. The 20-year-old enjoyed a successful season last year, winning two titles on the LPGA tour and suffering a defeat in a playoff to Park Sung-hyun in the women's PGA Championship.
Europe will try putting their mark in this year’s tournament with Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and England’s major champion Georgia Hall will be the most likely candidates to contend including Charley Hull, 23 who has a strong record at this venue, including a runner-up finish in 2016. Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Azahara Munoz have also performed strongly this season, flying the flag for Catriona Matthew's Solheim Cup team.
The Americans will be looking out for Nelly Korda hoping her to win the first major of the year. The 20-year-old won the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open in February and has been showing solid results since, including a second-place finish at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup in late March. Her older sister Jessica Korda will also be playing.
Hopes will also be on Danielle Kang and veteran Cristie Kerr as possible winners, and this could be the platform we see Lexi Thompson the 2014 ANA Inspiration champion, after a difficult 2018 season, she has yet to bounce back in 2019.
With many powerful competitors this time around, the 2019 ANA Inspiration is shaping up to be one of the most intense battles to date.News Now - Sport News