LYDIA KO, New Zealand
The new face of women’s golf, no player will be watched more closely this week at Sahalee than this young star. The world’s top-ranked player already has 12 wins, and she captured her second major earlier this year at the Ana Inspiration. Do we have to remind you she is only 19?
State of game: “There are so many things I can get better at.”
LEXI THOMPSON, United States
If you want to follow the field’s true grip-it-and-rip-it star — here she is. Her drives average nearly 285 yards off the tee (which might not be best-suited for tight, tree-lined Sahalee). Her competitive fire and boundless talent has pushed her near — or to the top of — the list of best American players.
State of game: “Thought I was the young one out here. Now I’m a veteran.”
STACY LEWIS, United States
The former No. 1 player in the world has not won in two years. Can she find the magic this week? It certainly sets up that way, given that this is a layout that is tailor-made for her straight driving — and the fact she is bankrolled by the tournament sponsor (KPMG).
State of game: “I’ve got to get my act together a little bit.”
BROOKE HENDERSON, Canada
Another up-and-coming star, she joins Ko and Thompson as the only golfers to win before their 18th birthdays (2015 Cambia Portland Classic). And no player on the LPGA Tour has made more birdies (210), or had more top-10 finishes (nine) this season than Henderson.
State of game: “Wins are awesome, but I also feel top 10s are just as successful.”
ARIYA JUTANUGARN, Thailand
The influx of Asian talent is what has made the LPGA Tour the worldwide entity it is today. And no golfer is hotter right now than Jutanugarn, who has won three consecutive tournaments (Yokohama LPGA Classic, Kingsmill Championship, LPGA Volvik Championship) leading up to this major. She was the youngest girl to qualify for an LPGA Tour event at 11 years old.
State of game: “I expect more wins.”