The best female golfers in the world will tee off at CordeValle Golf Club this week as the Californian course plays host to the 2016 U.S Women’s Open.
Despite its short history, the 17-year-old course has already established itself as one of the toughest in the Bay Area, so the field can expect a difficult challenge.
We take a look at some of the favourites who are searching for a victory this week.
The Usual Suspects
The Canadian is on fire. Henderson wrote her name into the history books on Sunday when she successfully defended her title at the Cambia Portland Classic. In the process, the 18-year-old became the first to do so since the legendary Annika Sorenstam in the early 2000s.
Henderson also proved her mettle when she defeated the indomitable Lydia Ko jin a playoff last month to win her maiden major at the Women’s PGA Championship.
In the dictionary, right next to the world ‘consistency’, you will find a picture of one Lydia Ko. The world number one is yet to miss a cut in 2016 and has nine top ten finishes from 13 starts this year.
The New Zealander also boasts superb form on the biggest stage. Ko has won two of the last four majors and finished runner-up and T3 in the remaining two.
Ko is coming off a sterling performance at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship two weeks ago, where she won by three strokes. Included in that win was a course record-equalling nine-under 62. That career low round is a strong indicator that Ko is still at the top of her game.
The American has also had a consistent streak of late, notching up eight top tens to go with two victories to move her to fourth in the world rankings.
Thompson impressed at the Honda LPGA in Thailand, with a pair of 64s helping her to a comfortable six-stroke win. She was a strong favourite after three rounds at the recent Meijer LPGA Classic, but a one-over 72 in the final round saw her slip to T4.
At just 21-years-old, it seems inevitable that the 2014 Kraft Nabisco winner will taste victory on the biggest stage again. Could that stage be CordeValle?
Sei Young Kim
Kim has made quite a splash since bursting onto the scene in 2015, nothing up no less than five wins on the LPGA Tour, most recently at the Meijer LPGA Classic.
The results have seen her climb to fourth in the Race to CME Globe and a good result in CordeValle could see the 23-year-old climb even higher.
While the South Korean missed the cut in Arkansas, you can be sure she will bounce back this weekend as she hunts down a first major win.
While technically not a usual suspect, Jutanugarn will be one of only two players in the field with three wins to their name this season, with Ko the other.
The Thai ace became the youngest player to ever qualify for an LPGA event at the age of 11 in 2007, but this year Jutanugarn has really come of age.
Her fearless style of golf led to her winning her first three titles in consecutive fashion to cap off a memorable May. Currently third in the Race to CME Globe, Jutanugarn is putting Thai golf on the map.
It’s worth noting that Jutanugarn has impressed in the two majors this year, earning a fourth and third respectively.
The South Korean was on top of the world following a thrilling run earlier this year, earning two LPGA victories that bracketed a T4 and a T8. Jang even became the first player on Tour to card a hole-in-one on a par four at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.
However, mentally, Jang has not been the same since a bizarre incident involving a falling suitcase injuring her rival In Gee Chun and criticism from fans back home over her Beyonce-inspired celebration.
Nonetheless, the ten-time winner has proven her game is good enough to compete with the best…she just needs to get her head straight.
A tough course requires patience and consistency, which Nordqvist has in spades.
In fact, one has to go all the way to September last year to find the last time the Swede missed a cut, 25 events ago.
The six-time LGPA Tour winner is third in terms of greens in regulation on the Tour with 77.268 percent and tenth in the driving stats. This accuracy has lead to a victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic and a runner-up finish.
With eleven top ten finishes in the majors since her first win in 2009 at the Women’s PGA, perhaps Nordqvist’s second time in the spotlight is just around the corner.