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Mission Hills playing softer, with higher rough for ANA

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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Lexi Thompson won the year’s first major championship playing bomb and gouge last year, driving the ball brilliantly without having to worry about penal rough.

The defending champion took note that the ANA Inspiration is offering a different setup this year at Mission Hills.

“It definitely is playing a lot different,” Thompson said Tuesday. “They've been watering it quite a bit. So, it's softer. The rough is up, which, major championships should be. I'm happy to see that. But it's going to be playing tough, like it always does. You have to keep it in the fairway, because it's a tree-lined golf course with thick rough. So, just keep it in the fairway and hopefully sink some putts.”

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While Thompson’s big drives garnered a lot of attention in helping her win her first major here last year, she also putted brilliantly.

Beatriz Recari prefers this setup to last year’s light rough.

“I didn’t think it was ideal,” Recari said of last year’s less penal setup. “It’s back to being nice and high.”

Recari said the thick rough won’t just impact tee shots. She said the short game will be impacted with players having to get up and down from thick rough around the greens, which aren’t as lush this year. The greens feature some brown spots.

“Certain areas don’t look good, but they roll fine,” Recari said.