Time for the ANA Inspiration

Call it the Dinah, call it the Kraft Nabisco Championship, call it by its official name, the ANA Inspiration. Make no mistake, this championship, which is being played for the 45th time this week, is the LPGA’s signature event. The first staging of this event, in 1972, marked the start of the LPGA’s modern era. For the record, the tournament was called the Dinah Shore Colgate Winner’s Circle in those days. Jane Blalock was the winner that year; she pocketed a check for $20,050 from a total purse of $110,000. This year’s field will be playing for $2.6 million and the champion will collect $390,000. Defending champion Brittany Lincicome heads a field that features 46 of the top 50 players in the world. Licicome is one of four players to have won this event more than once; her first victory at Mission Hills Country Club came in 2009. The short list of multiple champions also includes Karrie Webb (2000, 2006), Juli Inkster (1984, 1989) and three-time Amy Alcott (1983, 1988, 1991). Lydia Ko is likely the pre-tournament favorite however. Ko has played in this event three times and has never finished higher than a tie for 25th but she’s won twice in six starts this season and hasn’t finished outside the top 15. Ko comes into this tournament off a four-shot win at the Kia Classic last week and successfully defended at the SPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open, an LET event, in February. This tournament will also conclude qualifying for the second edition of the International Crown, which will be held this summer in Chicago. China, Australia, and the Republic of Korea are currently engaged in a three-way battle for the last two of eight slots. The current standings are as follows, courtesy of the LPGA and are based on commulative world rankings for each nation Rank Cumulative Rank 1. Republic of Korea 21 2. United States 39 3. Japan 182 4. Chinese Taipei 196 5. Thailand 354 6. England 355 7. China 378 8. Australia 382 9. Sweden 393 The eight qualifying countries will be finalized after this championship. The four players who will represent each country will be locked in after the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.


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