*All Times are local
Brooke Henderson and In-Kyung Kim
8:06 a.m. – 1st Tee
Major champions Brooke Henderson and In-Kyung Kim will begin their quest for a second major title together on Thursday at the ANA Inspiration. Henderson, the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Champion, is making her fourth start this week in the desert. While the Dinah Shore Tournament Course isn’t heavily tree-lined like many of the courses she’s won on, she is a fan of this track. She notched a top-10 finish in 2016 and has never finished worse than T26. This year, Kim returns to Rancho Mirage for the first time as a major champion. In 2012, she missed a one-foot putt on the final hole to win the ANA Inspiration. She went on to lose in a playoff and waited five more years to win that first major, breaking through at the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open. Kim spoke openly after her victory about the recovery process she went through to put the experience behind her. Kim arrives in Palm Springs off her best finish of the year after finishing T4 at the Kia Classic.
Lydia Ko and Jessica Korda
8:14 a.m. – 1st Tee
Lydia Ko, winner of the 2016 ANA Inspiration, will play alongside one of the hottest players to start the year in Jessica Korda. Ko has had an up and down start to her season with one top 10 and a missed cut in her first five starts of the year. As she continues to work through the adjustments she made in the off season, bringing on a new coach and caddie, she’ll put those changes to the test on golf’s greatest stage this week in Rancho Mirage where she finished T11 in 2017. Korda finished in a share of 11th with Ko last season, her best finish at the ANA Inspiration. But a much different Korda returns to Rancho Mirage. After undergoing extensive jaw surgery during the off season, Korda returned with a new look and a new game. Despite not having much practice, she won in her first start back on Tour in Thailand and then backed that up with another top-10 in Singapore. Her last start came at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup where she was T26.
So Yeon Ryu and Brittany Lincicome
8:22 a.m. – 1st Tee
Two winners of the ANA Inspiration, So Yeon Ryu and Brittany Lincicome, are grouped together in the opening rounds in Rancho Mirage. Ryu, the defending champ at the season’s first major, has had a lot of success at Mission Hills. In addition to her victory last season, she finished runner up in 2013 and T10 in 2016. Lincicome, a two-time winner of the ANA Inspiration, uses her length to her advantage in Rancho Mirage, which favors long hitters. Look for her to contend this week as she’s off to a strong start in 2018 after successfully defending her title in the Bahamas and picking up another top-10 in her next start in Thailand.
Jin Young Ko and Stacy Lewis
1:06 p.m. – 10th Tee
Rookie Jin Young Ko makes her first major start as an LPGA member alongside 2011 ANA Inspiration winner and Tour veteran Stacy Lewis. The rookie has played nothing like a first-time member in her start to her LPGA career. She won in her first event of the season at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and has three more top-10s in her first five events of the year. She’s making her third appearance in Rancho Mirage where she finished T71 in 2016 and missed the cut last year. This week, Lewis is making her first start since the Bahamas. After posting a T66 in the season opener, Lewis suffered a rib injury while practicing at the Honda LPGA Thailand as was forced to withdraw. She’s had a lot of success in Rancho Mirage where she has four top 10s in addition to her victory in 2011.
Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie
1:30 p.m. – 10th Tee
Two American stars, Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie, will attract quite a large following on Thursday and Friday as they play together in the opening rounds of the season’s first major. Thompson is looking to pick up her second win at Rancho Mirage where she won in 2014. It’s a venue that suits her eye and her game as a track that favors long hitters. She’s used her length to her advantage at the ANA Inspiration where she has three top-10s in addition to her win. Wie has also played well at the season’s first major where she has six top-10s including a runner up finish in 2014. She comes into the season’s first major already a winner in 2018 having won her first event in three years at the HSBC Women’s World Championship earlier this month.