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LPGA Tour: Chevron Championship preview: Ko ready to contend in Texas

The first LPGA Major of the season starts in Texas on Thursday, with every member of the world's top 20 teeing up.

This tournament has traditionally been played in California's Coachella Valley – for 51 years the world's finest female golfers headed to the Golden State – but a change of sponsor has resulted in a new home for the Chevron Championship.

WhatChevron Championship
WhereJack Nicklaus Signature Course, The Club at Carlton Woods, near Houston, Texas
When12:00, Thursday, April 20, 2023
How to watchSky Sports Golf and Main Event
OddsLydia Ko 11/1, Nelly Korda 11/1, Jin Young Ko 12/1, Atthaya Thitikul 14/1, Hyo Joo Kim 16/1, Lilia Vu 18/1, Georgia Hall 18/1, Nasa Hataoka 22/1, Celine Boutier 25/1, Danielle Kang 25/1, Lexi Thompson 28/1

Punters and bookmakers alike are trying to find out all they can about the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at The Club in Carlton Woods. The 6,824-yard, par-72 layout is unknown to most of the 132 players lining up this week.

The elite have all jetted to the Lone Star State for the first of the five LPGA Majors. The KPMG Women's PGA Championship takes place in New Jersey in June, then the US Women's Open in California in July, followed by the Evian Championship in France later that month.

The final LPGA Major of the season is the AIG Women's Open in England in the middle of August. 

Lydia Ko will expect to win one of the main titles this year and end her long victory drought in Major competition.

Ko, who can be backed at 11/1 for Chevron glory, is similar to Rory McIlroy in that she won her Majors at an early age before suffering a dip in form. Ko got her first Major title in the Evian Championship in 2015, then her second in the 2016 Chevron. The wait for a third continues for a woman who turns 26 on Monday.

Will the Korea-born New Zealander have the Chevron trophy to set alongside her birthday cake on Monday? Ko is well fancied after a brilliant 2022 campaign which she ended as Player of the Year, but she has gone slightly off the boil in recent weeks.

Each-way terms of a quarter the odds, the first five places are available for the Chevron. There are also top-five finish and top-ten finish markets. Lydia Ko can be backed at 7/5 for a top-ten finish.

Chevron Championship course details

The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at The Club in Carlton Woods is just outside Houston in the heart of Texas. 

The course is inside a private, gated community in one of the Lone Star State's most affluent areas. The key to success is finding the right sections of the fairways off the tee in order to get the right angle for the difficult approaches. 

As with most Nicklaus designs, the approach shots are the most challenging aspect of the assignment. Any mishit approaches are likely to be gobbled up by the numerous greenside bunkers, while there are also lots of run-off areas to repel balls off the greens. This week's eventual champion seems sure to have scrambled well around the greens.

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Chevron Championship three to follow

Atthaya Thitikul

Ever improving Thai terror Atthaya Thitikul may be ready to make her Major breakthrough this week and the 14/1 next to her name has caught the eye of many punters.

Thitikul continues to go from strength to strength and could be set to become Thailand's third Major champion, following Aritya Jutanugarn and Patty Tavatanakit. Thitikul, a gifted 20-year-old who seems set for superstardom, won twice on the LPGA Tour as rookie last season. She has finished in the top ten in her last three Majors.

Nelly Korda

Injury and illness has hampered the career of Nelly Korda, but the American powerhouse has been looking back to her best in recent months and 11/1 for her winning the Chevron Championship seems sure to be popular.

Korda turns 25 this summer and the Floridian is focused on claiming a second Major title. She won her first in the 2021 Women's PGA Championship.

Minjee Lee

The 55/1 against the name of Minjee Lee could appeal to many given the way she has performed in recent Majors. Lee, the sister of Min Woo Lee, won the 2021 Evian Championship, then followed up with a second Major success in last year's US Women's Open.

The Majors seem to bring out the best in Minjee these days and she fears nobody.

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