The Best Bets For The 2018 LPGA ANA Inspiration

It was 2003, and Wie played grown-up golf between giggling discourses on Oreo cookies and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Kim used a complete set of new clubs at last week's Kia Classic but has made a decision to go with the old putter for the first major of the year, at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, starting on Thursday.

"The fans were the only reason why I finished the way I did", Thompson said.

Thompson ability to overpower the Dinah Shore Course was a large factor in her outdueling Wie.

"I didn't have the best memories a year ago, but it's just an unbelievable atmosphere this whole event", Thompson said.

"I don't look at myself that I changed the rule", said the 23-year-old, whose nine LPGA victories include one major.

Thompson also won in Indianapolis, and took the $1 million bonus for the Race to the CME Globe and the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average - all while coping with her mother's successful fight with cancer and her grandmother's death. She finished with eight birdies. "I was really just looking forward to playing this week".

At 28, Wie is still waiting for that breakthrough, but with rejuvenated confidence her body and game might finally be back in good enough shape to make the Sunday leap into Poppie's Pond. "The guys, they care, obviously, but they are a lot more aggressive. Nobody really cares at end of the day if I missed it or not missed it, but it mattered to me". They may be the two biggest "needle movers" in the women's game.

Among those also breaking par were Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, 15-year-old amateur Lucy Li and Angel Yin, the 19-year-old pro from California you might remember from last year's Solheim Cup when she reduced galleries to giggles with her prodigious drives.

The joy with which she approached the sport dissipated over time, giving way to a world-weary drudgery. Depending on the rough, hitting the fairway is key at this course, but being good on the greens is what could vault players to the top of the leaderboard.

The road to adulthood can be rough for any adolescent, but especially one negotiating the path with the world watching, and critiquing every step.

"Just seeing what he's gone through with his injuries", said Wie. "Whenever I was in trouble I was actually in a good spot, and I was able to get up-and-down quite easily".

As a child, Wie idolized Woods, who is now her neighbor in Jupiter.

Wie struggled, shooting 3-over 75.

"Every time we see each other we list off all the things: How's your ankle, how's your back, how's everything?" "It's a 20-minute conversation, and then we can move on from there".

But South Korean Ryu So Yeon, who beat Thompson previous year, dug herself into a deep hole in her title defence with a three-over 75 that included not a single birdie. She played in three more tournaments in July and August before taking September off to allow her body time to heal.

  • Santos West