CARLSBAD, Calif. – Aviara Golf Club has little in common with the Mission Hills course the players will face next week in the ANA Inspiration.
The Kia Classic is still a good all-around tuneup for the first major of the year.
''You have to have an entire game here,'' said Cristie Kerr, set to begin her title defense Thursday. ''You need to drive it straight, you need to be accurate with your irons and you need to have great speed and green-reading ability on these greens. The greens are severe and very quick, so you have to have a total game here.''
Brooke Henderson agreed.
''This course is a good test,'' Henderson said. ''I know the scores have been pretty low other years, so definitely lots of birdie opportunities. But you've really got to play smart. ... You've really got to place your shots and make sure you're on the high side most of the day and putting below the pin.''
The 18-year-old Canadian is coming off a fourth-place tie Sunday in Phoenix, her fourth straight top-10 finish.
''I'm excited to get to ANA next week,'' Henderson said. ''It was a highlight in 2014 when I play played as amateur and I have a lot of amazing memories from there.''
Top-ranked Lydia Ko is in the strong field at Aviara. She was second in Phoenix.
''Carlsbad is one of my favorite cities,'' Ko said. ''I wish I could actually live here full-time. It's always good to come back to a place where you feel really welcome and you just love the vibe of the place.''
Sei Young Kim is coming off a record-tying victory Sunday. The 23-year-old South Korean player matched Annika Sorenstam's LPGA Tour scoring record of 27 under, closing with a 10-under 62 in Phoenix for a five-stroke victory in the JTBC Founders Cup.
Third-ranked Lexi Thompson is playing after skipping the Founders Cup. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand last month.