March 28, 2017: The season’s first major championship hosts the strongest field to start 2017 with the world’s top-25 ranked players competing at the ANA Inspiration. World No. 1 and defending champion Lydia Ko headlines the field along with world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and new world No. 3 So Yeon Ryu, who jumped into the top-3 with her runner-up finish at last week’s Kia Classic.
Ko arrives in Rancho Mirage off a rare missed cut at the Kia Classic – just the second of her career since joining the Tour in 2014. She made history with her win at the 2016 ANA Inspiration when she became the youngest two-time major champion in LPGA history at 18 years, 11 months and 9 days. Jutanugarn led much of the final round, but made bogey on her final three holes to settle for a final round 71 and fourth place finish.
10 former winners of the ANA Inspiration are in the field this week at Mission Hills. Two-time winners Juli Inkster (1984, 1989), Karrie Webb (2000, 2006) and Brittany Lincicome (2009, 2015) are in the field. Stacy Lewis (2011), Sun Young Yoo (2012), Inbee Park (2013), Lexi Thompson (2014) and defending champion Lydia Ko are also in the field.
Who is in the field
Past ANA Inspiration Winners (9):
Lydia Ko (2016), Brittany Lincicome (2015, 2009), Lexi Thompson (2014), Inbee Park (2013), Sun Young Yoo (2012), Stacy Lewis (2011), Yani Tseng (2010), Morgan Pressel (2007), Karrie Webb (2006, 2000)
2017 Winners (6):
Brittany Lincicome (Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic), Ha Na Jang (ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open), Amy Yang(Honda LPGA Thailand), Inbee Park (HSBC Women’s Champions), Anna Nordqvist (Bank of Hope Founders Cup), Mirim Lee (Kia Classic)
Lucy Li wins ANA Junior Inspiration
Fourteen-year-old Lucy Li won the AJGA’s ANA Junior Inspiration on Sunday at Mission Hills Country Club to earn the final spot in the field of the LPGA’s first major championship of the season.
Li, who made history in 2014 by becoming the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open (age 11), is one of six amateurs set to play in the 46th edition of the ANA Inspiration. She shot 3-under-par 213 across 54 holes (36 on the Pete Dye Resort Course, 18 on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course) to win by four shots over three players.
Thanks to a new partnership with the AJGA, the ANA Junior Inspiration became a fully sanctioned 54-hole invitational at Mission Hills Country Club this year. The ANA Junior Inspiration is also the only AJGA event in which an amateur can qualify to play in a Major by winning.
There are 30 active LPGA Tour pros who were either born or currently reside in California, the second most of any state behind Florida (38). At the collegiate level, 31 active Tour members have attended California schools – 11 active Tour members attended UCLA, the most of any school followed by the University of Southern California with eight.
Kia Classic winner looking for a Major Breakthrough
Mirim Lee, who coasted to a six-shot win at last week’s Kia Classic, got off to a strong start in the majors in 2016. The World No. 14 opened with an 8-under-par 64 at the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open and followed that with a 10-under-par 62 later that same month in the first round at the RICOH Women’s British Open.
While she wasn’t able to hold on for either win, she finished in the top 11 in both events and has notched three more top 10s in majors during her three years on Tour. Lee’s best finish at the ANA Inspiration is T11 in 2014.