Major championship season is upon us. One week before the men descend upon Augusta National for The Masters, the ladies head to Mission Hills for their first major of the season - the ANA Inspiration. Plenty of players find themselves in position to take a leap into Poppie's Pond. Here are a few storylines to follow as the week begins.
Brittany Lincicome has six LPGA Tour victories, and two of them come at the ANA Inspiration. The course is perfect for her game - the fairways are wide enough that she can take aggressive lines, and she has just enough touch around the greens. Lincicome, however, has not been performing well this season - after beginning the season with a top 10, she hasn't finished better than T50 in her last four weeks. What is more important - current form or course history? Lincicome will answer that question one way or another this week.
Lydia Looks For Two Straight
Lydia Ko has begun to separate herself from the rest of the pack as the best player in the world. She won last week, continuing a trend of excellent play this season. Most importantly, however, she has major momentum on her side. Ko was the most recent player to hoist a major championship trophy, winning the Evian Championship at the end of last season. Ko can make a huge statement if she's able to win the ANA Inspiration and pick up her second major victory before her 19th birthday. Given the way she has played recently, Ko enters as the clear favorite.
It seems like it's sooner rather than later that we will be calling Brooke Henderson a major champion. That could come as early as this week, as Henderson enters with a ton of momentum behind her. She has notched five top 10's in a row, and hasn't recorded a single final round over par this season. If she can get off to a good start, she may find herself in position to win coming down the stretch. Henderson isn't afraid of the moment - she recorded two top 5 finishes in majors last year, and finished T26 as a 16 year old amateur here two years ago.
In Gee's Back
After missing three LPGA Tour events with an injury, 2015 US Women's Open champion In Gee Chun is back. Chun had a terrific season going before her injury - she notched two top 5 finishes in her two starts. Where In Gee finishes on the leaderboard will depend completely on whether or not she's 100% healthy. If she is back in full force, she is one of the favorites to win it all.