The US Women’s Open returns to Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania for the second time with the same backdrop: the world’s No.1 player arrives having won the previous major.

Nine years ago, Inbee Park won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, as the Hall of Famer returned to the top of the world ranking with her sixth career major title before the 2015 US Women’s Open, where she ultimately tied for third.

This year, Nelly Korda is the dominant No.1, with April’s Chevron Championship part of her six victories this season. The gap between Korda (13.12 points) and No.2 Lilia Vu (6.32) is bigger than Vu and Trish Johnson (0.0001) in 1,620th place, the final spot in the ranking. Korda is the favourite in her bid for a third major victory, though there are two caveats: she hasn’t played very well in the US Women’s Open, and she’s never competed at Lancaster.

We combed through the 156-player field and ranked the 25 most likely to win the major. We promise no surprises when it comes to the top spot.

25. In Gee Chun

Rolex Rankings: 75 USWO starts: 9 Best finish: Win, 2015

Chun returns to the home of her 2015 US Women’s Open triumph, battling back inflammation for most of 2024. She gave a glimmer of hope she could win at Lancaster again during the Mizuho Americas Open, where the South Korean finished T-14 for her best finish of the season.

24. Lauren Coughlin

Rolex Rankings: 55 USWO starts: 0 Best finish: N/A

Coughlin posted a career-best finish at the Chevron (T-3), the peak of three top-15 finishes in her past six starts. The run, which got her into Lancaster thanks to moving into the top 75 in the Rolex Rankings as of May 27, is no fluke either. The 31-year-old is 18th on tour in strokes gained, according to the KPMG performance insights.

1529408165
Allisen Corpuz celebrates her 2023 US Women’s Open win. [Photo: Ezra Shaw]

23. Allisen Corpuz

Rolex Rankings: 21 USWO starts: 5 Best finish: Win, 2023

The defending champion has struggled recently, missing her first cut of the season at the Mizuho Americas Open two weeks ago. Her lone top-10 came in February at the HSBC Women’s World Championship.

22. Charley Hull

Rolex Rankings: 8 USWO starts: 9 Best finish: T-2, 2023

The Englishwoman put on a brilliant Sunday charge at Pebble Beach last year, ripping a fairway wood from under the iconic 18th fairway Cypress tree to try to catch Corpuz before earning one of four second-place finishes last season. Hull has had a more tempered 2024 campaign, with a pair of top-10s in her first three starts but hasn’t had one since. Her best finish since the Chevron was a T-13 at the JM Eagle LA Championship.

21. Jin Hee Im

Rolex Rankings: 38 USWO starts: 8 Best finish: Playoff Loss, 2018

The talented South Korean rookie has found her LPGA footing since the Chevron. The 26-year-old earned her first career top-10 (T-8) at the major, then finished T-4 at the LA Championship by carding a tournament-record 63 during the third round at Wilshire Country Club. Im won four times on the KLPGA last year and earned her LPGA status through Q-Series last December.

20. Jiyai Shin

Rolex Rankings: 20 USWO starts: 9 Best finish: T-2, 2023

The former world No.1 has become a consistent force when she tees it up in the few events in the United States she still plays. Shin, who gave up her LPGA membership in 2013 to compete in Japan, nearly won her first domestic regular LPGA tournament in 10 years at the Se Ri Pak Championship in March, where she ended up T-5. At Pebble Beach last year, the South Korean played her first US Women’s Open in two years and finished runner-up.

19. Celine Boutier

Rolex Rankings: 3 USWO starts: 7 Best finish: T-5, 2019

The four-time winner in 2023 has followed up with a slow start this year. Outside a runner-up in Singapore in February, the Frenchwoman hasn’t had a top-10 finish.

1501919040
Ruoning Yin won the 2023 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. [Photo: Andy Lyons]

18. Ruoning Yin

Rolex Rankings: 4 USWO starts: 2 Best finish: T-20, 2023

Yin had her best finish of 2024 at the Cognizant Founders Cup (T-4) before withdrawing from the LPGA’s New Jersey swing early due to a wrist injury at the Mizuho Americas Open. The uncertain status of her injury pushes the 2023 KPMG Women’s PGA winner higher up the list than her talents would suggest.

17. Ayaka Furue

Rolex Rankings: 25 USWO starts: 3 Best finish: T-6, 2023

Furue and Brooke Henderson have the second most top-10s on the LPGA (five) this season behind Korda’s seven. Those include four instances when the Japanese golfer was in the top five going into Sunday, although Furue’s final-round struggles were pronounced. She is averaging 71.9 during the closing 18, 1.8 strokes worse than any other round of the week. Over those four times she was in contention, she averaged a 73.

16. Xiyu Lin

Rolex Rankings: 12 USWO starts: 9 Best finish: T-7, 2021

The Chinese talent earned her best finish of the season at the Cognizant Founders Cup with a T-4. The 10-year LPGA veteran is seventh on tour in scoring average this season (70.33).

1322239365
Yuka Saso won the US Women’s Open in 2021. [Photo: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images]

15. Yuka Saso

Rolex Rankings: 30 USWO starts: 5 Best finish: Win, 2021

Saso started the 2024 campaign by recording eight straight top-30 finishes, but her run was snapped by missing the cut at Liberty National. It’s the longest stretch of Saso’s career, bettering a seven-straight top-30 finish streak that included her major title at Olympic Club in 2021.

14. Hae Ran Ryu

Rolex Rankings: 26 USWO starts: 4 Best finish: 8th, 2023

Ryu held the 54-hole lead at the Chevron before a closing 74 pushed her back to fifth place. The 2023 rookie of the year followed up with a third-place finish at the LA Championship, her fifth top-5 finish since joining the LPGA.

Journeys: ‘I Tried To Fit The Professional Mould’

13. Gabi Ruffels

Rolex Rankings: 40 USWO starts: 4 Best finish: T-13, 2020

The 2024 rookie-of-the-year leader has a pair of top-3 finishes at the Founders Cup (third) and the Mizuho Americas Open (T-3). The Australian also owns more US Women’s Open experience than many may realise.

12. Minjee Lee

Rolex Rankings: 9 USWO starts: 10 Best finish: Win, 2022

The West Australian’s up-and-down season might finally be rolling. After missing three cuts in her first four events in the US, including the Chevron, Lee was T-7 at the Founders Cup and T-21 at the Mizuho Americas Open.

Minjee!

11. Jin Young Ko

Rolex Rankings: 7 USWO starts: 7 Best finish: T-2, 2020

The two-time major champion followed a missing the cut in the Chevron with a bounce-back T-4 performance at the LA Championship and a T-12 in her title defence of the Founders Cup.

10. Patty Tavatanakit

Rolex Rankings: 22 USWO starts: 6 Best finish: T-5, 2017

Since Tavatanakit’s victory on home soil at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February, she has finished in the top 25 in six of seven starts. The 2021 ANA Inspiration winner finished T-7 at the Mizuho Americas Open.

Sei-Young-Kim-swings.jpg
Sei Young Kim is third on the LPGA in strokes gained overall. [Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images]

9. Sei Young Kim

Rolex Rankings: 34 USWO starts: 8 Best finish: T-8, 2017

Kim is third on the LPGA in strokes gained thanks to a leap in her putting ability. She jumped from -0.07 strokes gained/putting to 0.84 this year, accounting for almost her entire gain of 1.12 strokes per round. The 12-time winner has three top-10s in 2024, already more than the two she had last season.

8. Madelene Sagstrom

Rolex Rankings: 35 USWO starts: 7 Best finish: T-17, 2018

Sagstrom had one of the best runner-up performances the LPGA has seen recently at the Founders Cup, with her 22-under score 13 strokes better than Gabi Ruffels’ third-place finish. The strong play in New Jersey was among two top-10s for the Swede since the Chevron, alongside a T-8 at the LA Championship.

7. Lydia Ko

Rolex Rankings: 14 USWO starts: 12 Best finish: T-3, 2016

Ko’s past two events were her worst results of the season, with a T-35 at the Founders Cup and her only missed cut of the year at the Mizuho. Before that, the Kiwi had finished in the top 20 in six of her previous seven starts.

1840888750
After a strong start to the season, Brooke Henderson has struggled lately. [Photo: Cliff Hawkins]

6. Brooke Henderson

Rolex Rankings: 11 USWO starts: 11 Best finish: T-5, 2015

The Canadian’s challenging finish at the Chevron Championship may have knocked her confidence. Henderson finished in the top 30 or better in her first eight events of the season. Despite a T-3 at Carlton Woods, she had her two worst results of 2024 in New Jersey, with a T-35 at the Founders Cup and a T-56 at the Mizuho.

5. Atthaya Thitikul

Rolex Rankings: 13 USWO starts: 2 Best finish: T-24, 2022

The Thai almost started her 2024 campaign with a victory, holding the lead on Saturday evening at the Chevron before fading during an extended Sunday weather delay to finish 12th. The former world no.1 finished the Mizuho with a T-7.

4. Maja Stark

Rolex Rankings: 16 USWO starts: 4 Best finish: T-9, 2023

Stark is playing arguably the best stretch of her career, even without a victory. The Swede has had three top-3 finishes in her past five starts, including a pair of runner-up results at the Chevron and the LA Championship.

2152642954
Rose Zhang celebrates winning the 2024 Founders Cup. [Photo: Mike Stobe]

3. Rose Zhang

Rolex Rankings: 6 USWO starts: 5 Best finish: T-9, 2023

Zhang turned an up-and-down season into a solid sophomore campaign with her second career victory at the Founders Cup. She is in second place on tour in strokes gained (2.21) in 2024, trailing only Korda (2.9). The pair are the only two players above two in strokes gained/total this season.

2. Hannah Green

Rolex Rankings: 5 USWO starts: 5 Best finish: T-13, 2023

The only other multiple-time winner on the LPGA this season almost beat Korda down the stretch at Liberty National for her third win of 2024. Green got quite the consolation prize, surpassing compatriot Minjee Lee to become the top-ranked Australian in the world for the first time in Green’s career.

1. Nelly Korda

Rolex Rankings: 1 USWO starts: 9 Best finish: T-8, 2022

Could Korda’s 10th appearance in the US Women’s Open be her breakthrough? She’s had only one top-10 in this major since playing as a 14-year-old in 2013. Her New Jersey swing showcased how different a player Korda is in 2024: she missed back-to-back cuts in America’s Garden State last year; this year, Korda finished T-7 in her bid for six-in-a-row at the Founders Cup, then won the Mizuho Americas Open.

This one change took Nelly Korda from ‘very good’ to ‘historic’ in 2024