NCG form expert Barry Plummer assesses the field ahead of the first major of the year and highlights who he fancies to go well this week.

The first major championship of the year is here, with the greatest in the game battling it out to make history at the ANA Inspiration in California. Before I outline who I think will take the trophy this week, here is all the information you need…

ANA Inspiration details

Venue: Mission Hills Country Club (Dinah Shore Tournament Course), California

Date: April 1-4, 2021                                                                                      

Course stats: Par 72; 6,769 yards

Course summary: This ball striker’s track rewards accurate play from tee to green, with lush rough the penalty for complacency. Winners of this event usually have some recent course success, highlighting the difficulty of the challenge and the necessity to learn from each visit. Drama is guaranteed on the par-5 18th, with an island green to negotiate as part of the ultimate risk reward finish.

Purse: $3.1 million

Defending champion: Mirim Lee (-15)

ANA Inspiration TV coverage

Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 5pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 5pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 11pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 11pm

ANA Inspiration betting tips

Once again I’m joined by Steve Carroll on the Dialled In podcast from NCG, where we discuss my picks in a bit more detail.

Listen with the player below, or on your preferred podcast platform.

ANA Inspiration staking plan

Bazza’s Banker: Jessica Korda (2.5pts e/w @ 20/1 with Bet365)

Korda got off to a flyer at the start of the 2021 LPGA season, winning the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in January. That was her sixth LPGA Tour win, so it surely won’t be long before she gets that first major championship. Korda has excellent form at the ANA Inspiration, with a 4th place and a 6th place finish in the last three years. Her precision on approach will be a real bonus here, as she ranks 8th on tour for GIR this season. Korda also ranks 3rd for putts-per-GIR this year, so we can expect plenty of opportunities for her to make birdie or better. At an appealing price, I can see this selection giving us a real chance over the weekend.

The outsider: Jennifer Kupcho (2pts e/w @ 66/1 with Bet365)

After an impressive runner-up finish at the LPGA Drive On Championship, Kupcho will be looking to kick on and compete for her first major championship win. At just 23 years old, Kupcho has already risen to 12th in the Rolex rankings and has had a runner-up finish in each of her last three seasons on the LPGA Tour. On a course that requires accuracy on approach, Kupcho certainly fits the bill ranking 6th for GIR this season. A 22nd place finish in last year’s ANA will have been a great learning experience, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her get much closer to the top of the leaderboard this week.

The long shot: Anna Nordqvist (1pt e/w @ 100/1 with Bet365)

The most recent of Nordqvist’s two majors was in 2017, which is perhaps why we are getting so much value in this price, but Nordqvist is somewhat of a course specialist in this event. The Swede has not missed a cut in her last 10 attempts at this tournament, with three top-10 finishes and a best of 4th in 2015. Nordqvist is accurate from tee-to-green, ranking 17th for driving accuracy and 11th for GIR this season. As an experienced pro who has a great record in this event, I think Nordqvist represents great value for an each-way punt.

For more prices, visit Bet365.

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