Minjee Lee heads into the first LPGA major of the year with some solid form behind her so far in 2016, and is hoping for the best major finish in her short career when she tees it it tomorrow morning at the ANA Inspiration in Palm Desert, California.
The 19 year old teen sensation from Western Australis broke through for her first LPGA victory at the Kingsmill Championship as a rookie last year, and followed that up with her first top 10 in a major championship finishing tied for 9th place at the Ricoh Women's British Open at Turnberry in August.
Lee's 2016 form has been solid rather than spectacular, she has finished in the top 25 in 6 of her 7 starts this year with a best finish a tie for 8th place in the Honda LPGA Thailand Classic earlier this month.
Tournament favorite once again will be 18 year old world number 1 Lydia Ko, who will be looking to turn around her recent Mission Hills form in 2016. Ko does come into this week full of confidence though after an impressive win at the Kia Classic last week, she has played in the ANA Inspiration on the last three occasions, never once finishing inside the top 25 in the tournament.
The ANA Inspiration offers Ko her first chance of winning her second major championship, six months after she broke through for her first major victory at the Evian Championship, and she revealed the relief of winning that first major, and the becoming the youngest ever to do so, will help her preparation immensely this week.
"I think the biggest pressure, obviously there was the youngest record, that was the last time I could do that in Evian," said Ko. "But the big thing is people were saying, when is she going to win a major; is she going to win a major. I think that was the question that was going around. I think that's a relief that I don't have to hear that anymore."
"Going into last year, there was Annika's record of the under-par streak, so I had that going on, and I don't have to worry about that going into this week. I think my goal is to have my personal best finish at ANA. I didn't strike the ball very well here last year, so hopefully I'll be able to hit a few more fairways and give myself a good chance, and obviously it helps to have played well last week going into the first major of the year."
The only other Australian player in the field this week is 2006 champion Karrie Webb, who boasts a great record at the tournament with 11 top 10's from 20 starts, 8 of those being top 5 finishes.
Webb will tee it up at 7:52am local time with fellow LPGA legend and Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, while Minjee Lee will play alongside Thailand's Ariya Jutanagarn at 8:24am.
The ANA Inspiration will be shown live on Fox Sports 3 from 4:30am AEDST time on Friday 1st April.
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