OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Moving day is always a fun round in an LPGA tournament, but this particular Saturday could be especially exciting at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The stage is set perfectly for some virtuoso performances.
Going into the third round, Brittany Lincicome is the only player among the top seven who has won a major championship. But lurking within striking distance are a slew of major winners: So Yeon Ryu, Brooke Henderson, Michelle Wie, Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson, In Gee Chun and Inbee Park were all within five of the lead.
This could be a major battle of mind games: Can Amy Yang get the major monkey off her back? Can Moriya Jutanugarn get out from under her younger sister’s shadow and get her first LPGA win? Does Lydia Ko have her feet back on the ground after an off-season of major changes? Is Michelle Wie ready to win for the first time since capturing the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open?
Making matters even more interesting is the tantalizing set-up by PGA of America course guru Kerry Haigh. He’s created a brilliant test for the players. Nearly every fairway bunker is in play off the tee and the long hitters can take them on with the driver, blowing the ball over and having wedge in – if they catch all of it – or they can opt to lay up short, leaving a much longer club for the approach shot.
The final pairing of Danielle Kang and Sei Young Kim goes off at 12:40 and in Kang it pits a two-time winner of the U.S. Women’s Amateur again Kim, the 2015 Rolex Rookie of the Year who already has six tour wins at the age of 24. They are tied for the lead at seven under par.
Chasing them one stroke back are Lincicome, Yang, Chella Choi, My Hyang Lee and Jodi Ewart Shadoff. Two back are Brooke Henderson, So Yeon Ryu, Sarah Jane Smith and Jutanugarn. Wie and Ko are three strokes behind along with Aditi Ashok of India.
Often on Saturday someone a bit off the pace who goes out early and shoots a low number for the round of the day. If you are looking for someone who fits that bill today think Inbee Park at two under par or Lexi, Chun, Gerina Piller and Nelly Korda at three under.
It’s all there for the watching. Just sit back and enjoy.