Jin Young Ko and Atthaya Thitikul could both be in contention come Sunday but predicting The Chevron Championship winner is too close to call
Although Jin Young Ko is only 27-years-old, she already feels like a veteran of the tour since turning pro 10 years ago. In contrast, Atthaya Thitikul is 20, a pro for nearly three years and this is her second year on the LPGA Tour.
Whilst Ko has two Majors to her name, which included the 2019 Chevron Championship, Thitikul is still chasing her first.
Both players are exciting in their own rights, Ko had a phenomenal 2021 season winning five events, including the final event of the season the CME Group Tour Championship. Whilst Thitikul won the LET Order of Merit in 2021 and burst onto the LPGA last year claiming Rookie of the Year which included two victories.
Ko and Thitikul are now ready to take on the first Major of 2023, but what are their chances of taking home a victory?
Predicting a Major winner...
Grant Boone, long-time commentator for the LPGA Tour on Golf Channel had his thoughts:
So your guess may be as good as mine (and Grant's) and with the challenge of a new course, there isn't too many statistics to go on this week.
Saying this, Ko now feels ready for the Major challenge, after spending most of 2022 playing with a wrist injury:
"Mentally and physically everything is perfect. This course is not easy, but I'm ready to enjoy. I'm ready to play. I'm ready to look forward."
Five years have passed since she won The Chevron Championship and Ko said she wants to have the feeling again of a Major victory.
Thitikul is hoping to take this first Major in her stride at the new venue in Texas:
"I think totally the vibe is kind of different, but the way I play and the way I think about the course or the way I think about on and off the course, I think I try to keep it the same as usual, trying to do my best out there.
"Don't think it's a big purse, don't think it's a big event, and I don't want to think about the future - oh, I want to win this, I want to win that, what could happen.
"I think what I can do, it's just kind of out there, even if it's a major or not."
Youth over experience?
Whether you might pick youth over experience, there is no doubt that both of these players could be in contention in the final round on Sunday. What stands in their way? The other 130 players...
Obviously not all 130 players but when you can predict who may be in contention whether it be Jin Young Ko, Lydia Ko, Atthaya Thitikul, Georgia Hall or Nelly Korda - the woman to get the win may be unexpected. Just look at Grant's stats.
So with no real conclusion, it's time to sit back, watch and wait to see what happens! I'm looking forward to seeing what the Jack Nicklaus Signature course at The Club at Carlton Woods has to offer and how the best women players in the world take it on.
Bring it on!
The Chevron Championship gets underway at 7:15am local time (1:15pm BST). You can view the full start sheet here