While some were surprised to see a 66 atop the leaderboard following round one of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, it came as no surprise to those who set up this year’s event at Westchester Country Club.
“You don’t expect the same player to shoot six, seven, eight under each day but it’s certainly out there,” said Brad Alexander, Manager of Rules and Competition for the LPGA. “We balance hole locations for each day of the championship so no day would be any more difficult or less difficult than any other.”
What did surprise officials Thursday was the lack of wind, which became a non-factor on the West Course and led to more gettable holes for players.
“We did move a few tees up Thursday because of the forecasted wind which we didn’t get,” Alexander said. The five par 5’s played the easiest in round one, giving up 255 birdies and eight eagles.
The wind will be the biggest determining factor in how the par 4’s will play this weekend, which can become very challenging when playing into the wind. Alexander says there won’t be any major changes to the yardages unless they’re faced with a challenging forecast, the course played to 6,638 in round one and slightly shorter on Friday at 6,583. But the weather looks to be cooperating this weekend.
“In the afternoons with the humidity and heat there’s a chance of pop-up thunderstorms. Saturday there’s a cold front coming through that will destabilize the weather and there’s a greater possibility for some thunderstorms,” said Alexander. “Supposed to have some nice couple days with just a chance of thunderstorms.”
The par 4, seventh hole could make for some exciting golf this weekend where Alexander says they moved the tee as forward as possible on Friday to make it reachable at 276 yards. The hole played 335 yards in round one averaging 4.15.
“We’re going to evaluate hole number seven and see how the players react to the forward tee to see how they go for it and if we like what we see there’s a possibility of us doing that again one day on the weekend.”
Overall the LPGA’s first trip to Westchester Country Club has been a successful one and is shaping up to be a fair and competitive test in determining this week’s major champion.
“We’re extremely pleased and we’re getting a lot of positive feedback from players, caddies, spectators, club employees and everyone is very happy.”