U.S. Women’s Open picks to win: Our staff’s favorites for The Olympic Club

Ariya Jutanugarn hits a tee shot

Ariya Jutanugarn is one of the favorites to win this week.

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The second women’s major of the year, the U.S. Women’s Open, has arrived. The world’s best tee it up at The Olympic Club in San Francisco on Thursday playing for one of the most prestigious trophies in the sport. Patty Tavatanakit won the first major of the year. Who is your pick to win this week?

Jessica Marksbury: My money is on the Queen Bee, Inbee Park. Park is just a U.S. Open machine. Not only has she won two of them, she’s finished in the top 10 in nine of her last 13 appearances since 2007. Plus, her game is trending up, with a win back in March and five straight top-15 finishes in her last five tournaments.

Dylan Dethier: It’s always smart to back Inbee Park, so I’ll endorse that vision. But I’ll add that I like the fit for Jessica Korda. She’s long off the tee (No. 7 on tour this year) in good form (top-three finishes in her last two starts) and I’m impressed with her mental game. Steady in contention. Olympic is going to be tough. Who can handle that best?

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Josh Sens: My heart says Lydia Ko but my head is going with So Yeon Ryu. A steely competitor who has been in form, she’s finished in the top six in her last three starts. Plenty long. Great iron game. Love her chances on such a stout course.

Alan Bastable: All-in on a resurgent Ariya Jutanugarn. She’s clearly riding a wave of confidence after winning in Thailand last month — which carried over to a third-place finish at Shadow Creek last week — and she just plain shows up at the majors: 11 top-10s since 2016, including a USWO title in 2018.

Josh Berhow: Danielle Kang. She won her first major in 2017 and has won at least one event in every year since, but she’s still looking for her first in 2021. She’s had a solid year — five of her eight starts have been T13 or better — and has a great short game, and I always like players who are strong and gritty around the greens when it comes to big-tournament time.

Tim Reilly: Nelly Korda. I’m not going to spit out a bunch of stats and trends as to why I think Korda will win. I’m simply picking Korda to win because I want her to ascend to the top of the LPGA mountain, and the U.S. Open is the perfect stage to do so. It’s the type of win that would give the LPGA a huge awareness boost, and I’m rooting for it.

Rachel Bleier: Patty Tavatanakit. Patty T blasted onto the LPGA scene earlier this year when she defeated a surging Lydia Ko to earn her first career victory which just so happened to be a major too. While all of the other players have talked about how difficult Olympic is playing, Tavatanakit said she hit nearly every fairway and green in her practice rounds. Confidence, talent, and a penchant for big moments — she’s hoisting the U.S. Women’s Open trophy come Sunday.

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