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Seven Australians and a New Zealander Play Golf's First Major

Arguably Australia's greatest ever golfer, Karrie Webb this week plays the ANA Inspiration for the 23rd time.
The opening major of 2019, the ANA Inspiration, is played this week at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California and seven Australians and one New Zealander are among the field.

Seven-time major winner, Karrie Webb, gets yet another chance to play at a venue that has meant so much to her, perhaps no more so than when winning her most recent major title after holing out from 116 yards at the 72nd hole in 2006 and going on to defeat Lorena Ochoa in a playoff.

Webb first played the event in her rookie year in 1995 and finished 5th and has since gone on to play another 21 times for two victories and 10 other top tens.

Despite her significantly reduced schedule and form below the levels she was previously known for, Webb’s appearance this year and her brilliant record in the event make this year’s involvement by the Queenslander very special.

Katherine Kirk will play the event for the 12th time with a best of 8th in 2009. Kirk gave an indication at last week’s Kia Classic - where was leading Australian in a share of 13th - that her game was in good enough shape to contend.

Lydia Ko plays the ANA Inspiration for the 7th occasion having won in 2016, her only top ten in those appearances. She has been thereabouts in her starts to date in 2019 and another good week in Rancho Mirage is likely.

Minjee Lee has a best of 3rd in her five starts at the ANA and while her very recent 2019 form has been below her best, she will start the event as the game’s third-highest ranked player and likely to feature on the leaderboard.

Sarah Jane Smith has a best of 32nd in her five times to Mission Hills and her most recent form suggests things are not likely to get a whole lot better. Her best finish in six starts in 2019 has been 43rd and having missed three of her six cuts this is likely to be her last major championship start ahead of the arrival of her and husband Duane's first child in July.

Su Oh will tee it up for the 4th occasion with a best of 51st in 2014. But Oh, too, is struggling with her game of late after an impressive runner-up finish at the Vic Open in February.

Hannah Green is in her second season on the LPGA Tour and has played this event once previously when tied for 16th in 2018. A final round of 66 to lead the Australasian challenge last year suggested that she was quickly finding a comfort zone on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course layout.   

Sarah Kemp gets the chance to play this event for the second occasion having regained a level of status on the LPGA Tour through a pair of high finishes in LPGA events in Australia. In Kemp’s only previous start at the ANA she finished 66th.

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