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Brittany Lang needs better to defend in US Women's Open

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BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — The U.S. Women's Open has not had a repeat winner since Karrie Webb in 2001 and the chances of Brittany Lang doing it this year don't seem good.

The 31-year-old Lang has finished no better than 13th in 14 events on the LPGA Tour, and she missed the cut in the KPMG Women's PGA two weeks ago.

So who is going to win the biggest event in women's golf at Trump National Golf Club?

World No. 1 ranked So Yeon Ryu of South Korea is the only player on the tour to more than once in the 18 events played.

No. 2 ranked Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand has nine top-10 finishes in 16 events, including a win, three seconds and a third.

Lexi Thompson, the top-ranked player from the United States, has a win and four seconds, while No. 4 Lydia Ko of New Zealand has something to prove after blowing the lead in the final round a year ago.

One could keep going down the list and find players capable of winning, including 39-year-old Cristie Kerr and No. 5 ranked In Gee Chun of South Korea, who won this event in 2015 in her first USGA event.

"I mean our tour has so much talent now," said Kerr, who won Open in 2007. "It's really hard to answer that question. You feel like anybody could win on a given week."

Even Lang believes she has a shot. She had not won last year when she took this event CordeValle Golf Club in California.

"It has been a little bit of a disappointing year," Lang said Wednesday. "I've been hitting the ball so, so well for the last few months and really haven't had any great finishes. So it's been a little frustrating. I'm going to try to stay patient."

Lang has finished no worse than 22nd in the last five Opens and she has top-15 finishes in three of the last four events.

"If you are hitting the ball really well, and I'm hitting it long right now, you should have a good chance at the U.S. Open," she said. "I will be nervous and excited on the first tee tomorrow. I'm going in with a lot of confidence because I've been in control of my ball striking."

Former Open winner Juli Inkster, who is now a golf television analyst and will captain the Solheim team later this year, said the 6,732-yard course favors a player who can hit high, long irons.

"It's not like you have to beat 156 of the best women golfers," Inkster said. "It's a great championship, but you have got a shorter field in who can win this championship. You have got to take it by the horns and go out there and get it done. It took me a little while to learn that, to say I don't need to play my best golf. I just need to play good golf for four days."

The 72-hole tournament, which is scheduled to finish on Sunday, has had to share the spotlight with President Donald Trump, who owns the course.

The USGA has been criticized for not changing the site of the tournament after comments made by the president about women were disclosed last year during the presidential campaign.

UltraViolet, a national women's advocacy organization, announced plans on Wednesday to protest the Open. For months, the group has called on the USGA and LPGA to sever ties with Trump, arguing that it is wildly inappropriate for one of the world's most prestigious women's golf tournaments to give millions of dollars in revenue, free advertising, and branding to Trump, who they called "a self-admitted serial sexual predator and unapologetic misogynist."

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