U.S Women’s Open picks to win, sleepers to watch at Pine Needles

Lydia Ko is among the favorites to win this week.

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The U.S. Women’s Open kicks off this week at Pine Needles in Southern Pines, N.C. Here’s who some of our staffers like to win (and surprise).

U.S. Women’s Open picks to win

Josh Sens: Lydia Ko. Granted, I’m such a Ko fan that I also have her in my pool for the men’s event in Brookline. But there are other reasons. She’s been there, done that, and we know she’s long-recovered from that tailspin. 

Jessica Marksbury: Jennifer Kupcho. She’s already proven she can master a pine-lined course (see her inaugural victory at the ANWA in 2019), and with a newfound major-champion level of confidence, I think she’ll make it two-for-two at Pine Needles this week.

James Colgan: I firmly believe Lexi Thompson has spent every quiet moment for the last 12 months thinking about last year at Olympic. Finally, she has an opportunity to right the course of history, and very fittingly, at the same course she played her first-ever national championship.

Josh Berhow: Patty Tavatanakit. A great putter who makes a ton of birdies is a good pick for any major week, especially a USGA national championship. She’ll need to be a little better off the tee this week, but she’s proven to be a contender during the biggest events — her resume includes three top 10s and a win in her last five major starts.

Dylan Dethier: Nelly Korda. I’m biased, given I just spent a bunch of time with the Kordas for the cover story in our May issue — but even though she’s coming off a long layoff there just aren’t many women in the world better than Nelly Korda at golf. There might not even be one. This is the last time for a while you’ll be able to get her at 18-1 odds to win a tournament.

U.S. Women’s Open sleepers to watch

Sens: Leona Maguire. Just a matter of transferring some of that Solheim Cup fire into stroke play. I’ll take the juicy 70-1 odds.

Marksbury: Annika Sorenstam. The reigning Senior Women’s Open champ still has serious game — and the fact that she’s revisiting the scene of her 1996 Women’s Open triumph is more than enough to get my vote.

Colgan: Wasn’t it just two years ago that Sophia Popov exploded into national ranks with a victory as a heavy underdog at The Open? Those 300/1 odds seem too good to give up.

Berhow: Marina Alex. She won a month ago and has put together a solid season thus far. I like her odds for someone who has recently lifted a trophy, and she’s due to make some noise in a major. She’s made 32 of 37 career cuts in majors with 10 top 25s, but has just one top 10.

Dethier: Maja Stark has been tearing it up on the Ladies European Tour. She also contended and ultimately finished T13 and T16 in the last two U.S. Opens. She’s not exactly a big-time sleeper, but 50-1 is way too long for a player who seems likely to contend.

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