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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Third LPGA Major of 2019

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship looks to be in for a rough ride, given the weather forecasts. But that just means it'll be a tougher test.

Defending champion Sung Hyun Park

And a test it will be! This year's edition is being held at legendary Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota. It's a par-72 set up to play at just over 6800 yards. That's long for the ladies to begin with, but the northern part of the country has been battered by storms for most of 2019 -- and this week they appear to be in for more of the same.

There are, as far as I can tell, four primary storylines at the forefront this week:
  • The length of defending champion Sung Hyun Park, who won in a playoff last year, should give her a real advantage when the bad weather comes in. She's #4 in the Rolex and has one win this season (HSBC Women's World Championship) and one runner-up (T2 at the Kia Classic) but otherwise she hasn't been particularly consistent.
  • Lexi Thompson's length off the tee should also set her in good stead if the weather turns bad, but she's #2 in the Rolex and comes in with considerably better form. Her questionable play early in the year has given away to an amazing run of top finishes. Her last seven starts are: 3-MC-T4- MC-T2-1-T2. If her improved putting continues, she could be a juggernaut this week.
  • Brooke Henderson (also a long hitter) comes off a historic performance. At #5 in the Rolex, she has two wins this year -- which has made her the winningest Canadian player ever (either male or female), plus she's got a T2 mixed in for good measure. Oh, and she won this event in 2016.
  • And then there's Michelle Wie, #53 in the Rolex, making her first appearance after missing two more months with wrist injuries. She only began hitting chips and such last week, so she expects to be rusty. But she says her doctors told her that sitting out any longer won't help her heal.
Park has two majors, the other three have one each. The first three are each likely to be in the mix come Sunday evening. And while Michelle probably won't be a factor at the end, that doesn't mean she won't be a focus of attention.

And once you add in all the other players who are in form at this time of the season, it shapes up to be an exciting major. You can get more details about the event over at Tony Jesselli's preview.

GC's coverage begins Thursday at 6pm ET.

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