Players to watch in the LPGA Tour's ANA Inspiration

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) Players to watch in the ANA Inspiration, the first of the five major championships in women's golf. Play begins Thursday at Mission Hills.

LYDIA KO

Age: 18

Country: New Zealand.

World ranking: 1.

LPGA Tour victories: 11.

Major victories: 1 (2015 Evian Championship).

At Mission Hills: Tied for 25th as an amateur in 2013. Has broken par in only four of 12 rounds.

Backspin: Won the Kia Classic last week in Carlsbad after finishing second the previous week in Phoenix in the Founders Cup. Also won the Ladies European Tour's New Zealand Women's Open in February. Won five times last season and was the tour's player of the year.

---

STACY LEWIS

Age: 31.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 4.

LPGA Tour victories: 11.

Major victories: 2 (2011 ANA Inspiration, 2013 Women's British Open).

At Mission Hills: Won in 2011 for her first LPGA Tour title, beating Yani Tseng by three strokes. Tied for fifth as an amateur in 2007, tied for fourth in 2012, was third in 2014, and lost last year on the third hole of a playoff with Brittany Lincicome.

Backspin: Winless in 45 events since June 2014. Has nine runner-up finishes during the drought.

---

LEXI THOMPSON

Age: 21.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 3.

LPGA Tour victories: 7.

Major victories: 1 (2014 ANA Inspiration).

At Mission Hills: Overpowered the course and overwhelmed Michelle Wie in 2014, closing with a 4-under 68 for a three-stroke victory.

Backspin: Won the Honda LPGA Thailand in February. Leads the tour in driving distance at 285.8 yards and greens in regulation at 83.1.

---

INBEE PARK

Age: 27.

Country: South Korea.

World ranking: 2.

LPGA Tour victories: 17.

Major victories: 7 (2011, 2013 U.S. Women's Open; 2013 ANA Inspiration; 2013, 2014, 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship; 2015 Women's British Open)

At Mission Hills: Won in 2013, finishing at 15 under for a four-stroke victory.

Backspin: Finished second behind Lydia Ko last week in the Kia Classic. Appears to be over the back problem that forced her to withdraw from the first event of the season. Won five times last season to match Ko for the tour victory lead.

---

BRITTANY LINCICOME

Age: 30

Country: United States.

World ranking: 18.

LPGA Tour victories: 6.

Major victories: 2 (2009, 2015 ANA Inspiration).

At Mission Hills: In 2009, hit a hybrid from 210 yards to 4 feet on the par-5 18th to set up a winning eagle. In 2010, made a 10-foot eagle putt on 18 in regulation, and beat Stacy Lewis with a par on third hole of a playoff.

Backspin: After opening the season with a tie eighth in the Bahamas and a tie for 16th in Ocala, Florida, the long-hitter has finished no better than a tie for 50th in her last four events. Trying to join Annika Sorenstam, Betsy King and Amy Alcott as the only three-time winners at Mission Hills.

---

SEI YOUNG KIM

Age: 23

Country: South Korea.

World ranking: 5.

LPGA Tour victories: 4.

Major victories: 0.

At Mission Hills: Three strokes ahead entering the final round last year, shot a 75 to tie for fourth.

Backspin: Won the Founders Cup two weeks ago in Phoenix, shooting 63-66-70-62 to match Annika Sorenstam's LPGA Tour scoring record of 27 under. Tied for 24th last week in the Kia Classic. Won three times last season and was the rookie of the year.

---

HA NA JANG

Age: 23

Country: South Korea.

World ranking: 6.

LPGA Tour victories: 2.

Major victories: 0.

At Mission Hills: Tied for 41st last year.

Backspin: Won two of the first five events of the season, taking the Coates Golf Championship in Florida in February and the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore in March.

---

BROOKE HENDERSON

Age: 18

Country: Canada.

World ranking: 7.

LPGA Tour victories: 1.

Major victories: 0.

At Mission Hills: Tied for 26th as an amateur in 2014.

Backspin: Won the Portland Classic last year by eight strokes to become the third-youngest champion in LPGA Tour history. She was 17 years, 11 months, 6 days. Has five straight top-10 finishes.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.