Brendan James – Golf Australia Editor

Hard to go past the World No.1 JIN YOUNG KO, who won the ANA Inspiration in 2019 but could not return to defend her title last year because she chose to stay home in South Korea due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Her win here two years ago (her first major victory) propelled her to the No.1 ranking and she has stayed there ever since, while also winning the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open and Tour Championship along the way.

Sportsbet odds: $10.

JIMMY EMANUEL – Golf Australia Deputy Editor

I am tempted to go with Inbee Park following her win last week, but I think it is time NELLY KORDA took home a major.

The younger Korda was joint runner-up here late last year after losing in a playoff, so there is plenty of comfort with Mission Hills and the American arrives after three good rounds to finish the Kia Classic and sneak inside the top-10 having opened with a 75.

If Korda can win, I expect her to kick on and have a really big year in 2021.

Sportsbet odds: $12.

RELATED: ANA Inspiration preview

Michael Jones – Golf Australia writer

I’m finding it hard to look past Lexi Thompson and her incredible record here. But at the start of the year I chose LYDIA KO as the player to watch on the LPGA Tour throughout 2021 – and I think she can re-enter the major winners’ circle this week.

The 2016 champ has never missed the cut at Mission Hills, finished sixth last year and has recorded 11 top-15s since the LPGA returned from its coronavirus break last July.

Sportsbet odds: $21.

Rod Morri – Golf Australia magazine contributor and The Thing About Golf podcast host

Is it finally MINJEE LEE’s time to win a major?

It was an impressive return to tournament golf last week for the five-ime Tour winner with a T5 result at the Kia Classic behind Inbee Park. Lee has knocked on the door in big events before (including a third place finish here in 2017 and a T7 last year) but is yet to produce her best golf late in the biggest events.

2021 might just be the year she earns a sixth LPGA title and it would surprise no-one if that was to be a major or, indeed, this major.

Sportsbet odds: $23.


Brendan James – Golf Australia Editor

Have you noticed JORDAN SPIETH has got his swagger back?

While his win drought continues to date back to the 2017 Open Championship, there are definite signs a victory is not far away. And what better place to do it than in his home state of Texas.

He was second at the Texas Open back in his stellar year of 2015 and recent form suggests he could do go one better. He missed the cut in his first start of 2021 and slipped to No.92 in the world ranking. But his results since point to him turning the corner with four top-10s in six starts.

Spieth is ready and so is my bank balance.

TAB odds: $11.

JIMMY EMANUEL – Golf Australia Deputy Editor

SAM RYDER arrives fresh off the back of two top-10s, a T8 at the Honda Classic and T2 last week and seems a good fit for this week.

Ryder has made the cut both times he has teed it up in this event and is a top-quality ball striker which suits this venue perfectly.

If he can stay hot and get the putter working a little more consistently over the four days, Ryder will be right in the thick of it come Sunday afternoon.

TAB odds: $81.

RELATED: Valero Texas Open preview

Michael Jones – Golf Australia writer

Wouldn’t it be something to see JORDAN SPIETH snap his winless drought the same week as Lydia Ko? That’s what I’m hoping for anyway.

The Texan should enjoy his home advantage this week, arrives in very solid form and was runner-up here in 2015.

TAB odds: $11.

Rod Morri – Golf Australia magazine contributor and The Thing About Golf podcast host

He continues to slowly edge his way back towards the winner’s circle and a victory in his home state open would be just the warm up JORDAN SPIETH needs ahead of a return to Augusta National in two weeks' time.

His form at the TPC San Antonio is decent (one missed cut in five starts and a runner-up finish in 2015) and it would be fitting for Spieth to hoist a trophy he will value just a little more highly than a regular Tour event before a triumphant march back to The Masters.

TAB odds: $11.


Brendan James – Golf Australia Editor

Having finished T17 in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019, when aged just 15, ROSE ZHANG returns to Georgia a far more experienced and better player.

Of course, she is the reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion, having beaten Aussie Gabi Ruffels on the 38th hole in the final. She was also the low amateur at the ANA Inspiration, finishing at eight under. I sense she’s got the nerve and the talent to claim the title this week.

JIMMY EMANUEL – Golf Australia Deputy Editor

It is very hard to go past the top-ranked Rose Zhang in this one, but I am letting a little parochialism drive my choice of the lone Aussie in the field GRACE KIM.

I spoke to Grace when this event was cancelled last year and she was unsure whether she would remain an amateur to take up this opportunity to play Augusta or turn pro. So far the decision has proven a good one, with Kim claiming the Aussie Amateur earlier this year and I think she will be rewarded with another significant win this week. C’mon Aussie!

RELATED: Augusta National Women's Amateur preview

Michael Jones – Golf Australia writer

Hasn’t Jennifer Kupcho come on in leaps and bounds since winning the inaugural ANWA in 2019? It’s great to see the event return this year and I reckon BEATRICE WALLIN will come away with the honours.

The 21-year-old Swede has been in fine form at her collegiate events and finished T7th here two years ago.

Rod Morri – Golf Australia magazine contributor and The Thing About Golf podcast host

It’s not quite throwing darts at a dart board but it would be difficult to imagine a more difficult tournament to try to pick a winner.

Only those who follow the women’s college circuit with any regularity will be familiar with many of the players in this field and not being among that number I am instead going with a player I know in GRACE KIM.

I’ve seen the impressive Sydneysider first hand and she has plenty of game so the only question is whether it is enough to win at Augusta National. We will find that out this week.


So far our so-called experts have combined to tip FIVE winners in 2021, with 43 of their picks recording top-10 finishes that week and a best return of $61 for Max Homa to win the Genesis Invitational (tipped by Rod Morri).