Golf Australia

Seven up for major battle

Minjee Lee
Minjee Lee will spearhead the Aussie assault at Rancho Mirage.

Australia will launch arguably its deepest assault ever on the ANA Inspiration this week.

Seven Aussie women will tee it up, aiming to start major championship season by taking a dip in the storied Poppie’s Pond at Rancho Mirage in the Californian desert east of Los Angeles.

And each, for different reasons, can make a case that they will break the Aussie major drought that stretches all the way back to this tournament in 2006 when Karrie Webb played one of the greatest shots in the history of Australian golf on her way to winning what was then called the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Webb, chasing major No.8, will return, but she’ll no longer spearhead the Aussie challenge with world No.3 Minjee Lee among the favourites.

Working against Lee is that she’s not yet figured a way to win a major, but that she’s so consistently been in contention on the LPGA Tour – remarkably she has 40 top-10 finishes in just four years on tour – will stand her in good stead come the weekend.

Katherine Kirk enters in white-hot form having closed with a blemish-free 65 in San Diego last weekend, while fellow Queenslander Sarah Jane Smith enjoyed her best major results last year and will be keen to make a splash before she begins maternity leave.

Youngster Hannah Green enjoyed a share of 16th here on her major championship debut last year, while anywhere near Su Oh’s best for four straight rounds should be enough to have the Victorian in the Sunday mix, too.

And then there’s the bolter, Sarah Kemp. The delightful New South Wales golfer is effectively playing with house money having all but lost her card last year but having played her way into the field – and beyond this season and next – on the back of career-best results in Australia this past summer.

“It’s a really exciting week for the Aussies,” Golf Australia’s female pathway manager said from the United States this week.

“We have a group of women who are all geared up to do well at the year’s first major championship and they’ve each got a reason they can hang their hat on to be confident.

“Naturally everyone is hopeful for Minjee because she’s been knocking on the door for a while, but all the girls are really keen and it’s so good to have seven bringing that confidence to such a big occasion.”

The ANA Inspiration will be shown live on various Fox Sports channels through the weekend, starting on Friday morning and ending on Monday (Australian time).

Follow the Aussies’ progress at http://www.lpga.com/leaderboard throughout the tournament.


Comments

Posted by DENIS 'DOC' KILDARE at
04/04/2019 12:23 PM
I'm backing both Minjee Lee and Katherine Kirk to feature in the top five finishers this year. Best of luck ladies

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