Media covering the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship this week in Sammamish, Wash., are going to have plenty to write about.
The second major championship is bursting with storylines aplenty, and LPGA Tour fans are in for a treat as they play out over the course of the week. Three-time defending champion Inbee Park is 18 holes away from meeting the playing requirement for the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame, and while her attempt to become the first female pro to win the same major four consecutive years is a long shot because of a lingering thumb injury, Park can still realize a dream this week.
Ariya Jutanugarn enters the $3.5 million event looking for a quartet of her own, as the young star has won her last three starts dating back to early May. She has been playing as well as any golfer on the planet lately, and the confident talent should be a force to be reckoned with at Sahalee Country Club.
Then there’s Lydia Ko. The world No. 1 won the Tour’s first major of 2016 in California in early April and has won the LPGA’s last two major championships.
She’ll be among the favorites and could certainly extend her major triumph streak to three on Sunday afternoon. Ko leads the standings for the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award – the honor given to the player who performs best in the Tour’s five majors – coming into this week, and the determined teen will want to stay atop those standings.
Two-time 2016 tournament winner Haru Nomura finished second behind Anna Nordqvist in New Jersey last week as the Swede successfully defended her ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer title, and both players are riding some momentum coming into this week’s 72-hole event. Ha Na Jang also has two tournament victories so far this year and would love to add No. 3 on Sunday.
Add tournament winners Hyo Joo Kim, Lexi Thompson, Sei Young Kim, Minjee Lee and Jenny Shin, and the field grows even deeper. With a massive $525,000 check going to the winner, this week’s field will be the best of the best as they take on the par-71, 6,624-yard course chasing the glory of becoming a major champion.
Past KPMG Women’s PGA Championship winners Shanshan Feng (2012), Yani Tseng (2008, 2011), Cristie Kerr (2010), Nordqvist (2009), Suzann Pettersen (2007), Se Ri Pak (1998, 2002, 2006), Karrie Webb (2001), Juli Inkster (1999-2000) and Laura Davies (1994, 1996) all know what it takes to win the prestigious event and will give fans more stars to observe this week.
With so many storylines competing for attention, something will have to give, and it should be quite a thrill to see who and what emerges as the prevailing news of the tournament. Major is a perfect word to describe the excitement that is building in Washington.
All that’s left for golf lovers to do now is enjoy.