While the PGA Tour heads to Connecticut for the Travelers Championship (our Power Rankings for that event can be found here), the women tee it up at Pinehurst No. 2 for the U.S. Women's Open. One week after Martin Kaymer lapped the field, the best players from the LPGA Tour take their crack at its rough-less layout and turtleback greens.
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Inbee Park returns to defend the title he won a year ago at Sebonack over I.K. Kim. Here are 10 players to watch this week in Pinehurst:
1. Inbee Park: The defending champ and former world No. 1 enters with momentum after firing a final-round 61 to win in her most recent start. In addition to her win last year at Sebonack, Park captured the title in 2008 at Interlachen and has six top-10 finishes in this event since 2007.
2. Stacy Lewis: The new No. 1 enters with a ton of confidence, having won twice on the LPGA Tour in the past six weeks. While she doesn't have the record in this event of many of her counterparts, she is perhaps playing the best golf of anyone in the field heading into Pinehurst.
3. Cristie Kerr: Kerr was a runner-up to Inbee Park at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in her last start, and she has had no lack of success in this event. A winner in 2007 at nearby Pine Needles, she has finished no worse than 20th since, a streak that includes a pair of third-place finishes in 2009 and 2011.
4. Lydia Ko: She may only be 17 years old, but Ko has already shown that she can compete with the best players in the women's game. A winner earlier this year in California, the Kiwi has top-40 finishes in each of her two prior U.S. Women's Open appearances as an amateur and should improve on those results this week at Pinehurst.
5. Paula Creamer: Creamer ended a winless drought earlier this year in Thailand, and she appears to save her best golf for this event. A winner in 2010 at Oakmont, Creamer has finished T-19 or better at the U.S. Women's Open every year since 2004, and has been T-7 or better five of the last six years.
6. Suzann Pettersen: Last year's missed cut at Sebonack broke a streak of five straight top-15 finishes in this event for Pettersen, one that includes a tie for second in 2010. After missing the season's first major with a back injury, the Norwegian is back to full strength and eager to add to her major title haul.
7. So Yeon Ryu: A surprise winner in 2011, Ryu backed up that result with a T-14 finish in 2012 and was third last year at Sebonack. She has six top-10 finishes this year and is currently 10th on the LPGA Tour in GIR percentage.
8. Lexi Thompson: Thompson broke through to win the first major of the year at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and has built upon that momentum, with three more top-10 finishes including a runner-up showing at Kingsmill. On a lengthy course like Pinehurst, her advantage off the tee will be even more pronounced this week.
9. Karrie Webb: In an era where the best female players are younger and younger, Webb just keeps cruising right along. Webb won earlier this year at the JTBC Founders Cup and also kicked off her season with a win in Australia. Her Open record is a solid one, with three top-20 finishes in the last four years.
10. Michelle Wie: Wie is having a career year in 2014, with a win in her native Hawaii highlighting a season that also includes eight top-10 finishes. While her record in the Open hasn't been great in recent years, she did contend as an amateur in both 2005 and 2006, and if she gets her unorthodox putting style working on the greens, she could be on the leaderboard once again.