Nelly Korda, Michelle Wie West: 5 players to watch at the ANA Inspiration

Golf

The ANA Inspiration begins tomorrow, as a star-studded field featuring a surplus of the world’s best players, take to the Mission Hills Country Club in California.

The event is the first of the five major women’s golf tournaments that are held annually, with a prize fund of over three million dollars.

There are several names to keep an eye on as Mirim Lee seeks to defend her title from last year, Michelle Wie West returns after a two-year absence and Nelly Korda bids to win her first major championship.

With that in mind, here are five players to watch this week:

Jin Young-ko

Winner of the tournament in 2019, Jin Young-ko enters this year as a strong contender to lift her second title.

The world-number-one has won seven LPGA events in total and has two major championships to her name as well.

Despite playing just four tournaments in 2020, The South Korean enters this week having won the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in December last year.


Mirim Lee

A fellow South Korean, Mirim Lee shocked the world by winning in California last year.

An eagle on the 18th in her final round forced a three-way play-off versus Brooke Henderson and Nelly Korda, where Lee then birdied the very same hole to clinch victory.

It was her first major win and her first professional title since 2017. Nonetheless, as defending champion, Lee will be confident that she can compete again at Mission Hills.

Mirim Lee

Nelly Korda

World number four Nelly Korda claimed her fourth LPGA title recently with a three-shot victory at the Gainsbridge Championship in Florida.

The 22-year-old has been remarkably consistent in recent years, with three top 10 major finishes in her last six starts.

Though the American failed to secure the win in California last year –– this setback will only fuel her motivation even more.

Nelly Korda

Brooke Henderson

With nine LPGA Tour wins, Henderson has the most professional victories of any professional golfer in Canadian history.

Like Korda, Henderson narrowly missed out on her first ANA Inspiration win last year after losing the play-off to Lee and will be desperate to go one step further this time around.

Crucially, Henderson has already tasted major success, winning the Women’s PGA Championship in 2016, aged just 18.

This made her the second-youngest major winner in history and proves she has the mentality needed to hold her nerve when it counts.


Michelle Wie West

Incredibly, Michelle Wie West made her ANA Inspiration debut aged just 13, before turning professional in 2005 when she was 15-years-old.

A five-time winner on the LPGA Tour with one major victory, a combination of injuries, marriage and the birth of her daughter has meant West has been absent from the sport for almost two years.

Her progress will be followed closely, as the now 31-year-old aims to return to form after a long lay-off.

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