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My story originally appears on PGA.com on 6/23/22
Excitement is in the air at Congressional. The stars of the LPGA Tour, as well as the PGA/LPGA Professionals in the field this week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship are feeling the buzz for the season’s third major. Not only is there anticipation about teeing it up at storied Congressional for the very first time, but there is also the sense that it’s a wide-open field, with countless players that can win.
Let’s take a quick look at who some favorites might be, as well as some other potential contenders…
On the heels of her second win of the season last week at the Meijer LPGA Classic, Jennifer Kupcho is a likely favorite. Not only did she look strong last week, but her win back in March at The Chevron Championship, an LPGA major, really solidified her place Tour as a big-time contender. Jennifer is ranked 9th in the Rolex Rankings and is 3rd in the Race to the CME Globe.
Besides Kupcho, Minjee Lee is the only other two-time winner on the LPGA Tour so far in 2022. She is also the other Major Champion with her victory at the US Women’s Open that was contested earlier this month at Pine Needles. Minjee may be the best ball striker on the LPGA currently and if that may be in doubt, you don’t need to look much further than her number 1 ranking in scoring, at 68.81 strokes per round. Minjee is ranked 3rd in the Rolex Rankings and 1st in the Race to the CME Globe.
Jin Young Ko
Back in March, Jin Young Ko captured the HSBC Women’s World Championship for her lone victory of the 2022 season. With that win she has also had a 2nd at the Palos Verdes Championship, a 4th at the U.S. Women’s Open and a T-4th at the JTBC Classic. Few will forget her phenomenal 2021 season with 5 wins, including the Tour Championship, a T-2nd, T-3rd, and two 4th place finishes. Ko is ranked 1st in the Rolex Rankings and 5th in the Race to the CME Globe.
The defending KPMG Women’s PGA Champion is primed for a storybook victory after some major medical setbacks this year. Korda had a procedure in March to remove a blood clot from her subclavian vein. Korda also contracted the coronavirus in January. Despite this, and with only five starts on the season, two of which were in the last two weeks, she has finished in the top 20 in all, including a 2nd place finish last week, where she lost in a playoff. Korda is ranked 2nd in the Rolex Rankings and 22nd in the Race to the CME Globe.
Others to watch include: Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, Lexi Thompson and Atthaya Thitikul.